Their advertising presents them as light and wholesome, but generally they are anything but. Industrial packaged snacks are high in sugar and often packed with preservatives, colorings, sweeteners and other additives. The main fat used is often palm oil, an ingredient whose use has almost tripled in recent years due to its low cost (the episode of yesterday evening’s Report – an Italian journalistic TV program – revealed that those who work on the plantations receive an average salary of five euros a day) and chemical properties (it is very versatile and does not turn rancid).
The surface area dedicated to palm-oil production has also tripled, with millions of hectares of forest (especially in Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries that together produce 90% of the commercial palm oil, an area of forest equivalent of about 300 soccer fields is felled every hour), being cut down to make way for intensive monocultures. The palm oil that reaches our tables, an ever-present ingredient in biscuits, cakes, crackers and spreads, has nothing to do with the juice obtained from pressing oil palm fruits. The food industry transforms it through processes of fractionation, bleaching and refining. The end result is a flavorless, saturated fat (50-80%) that, after destroying the planet, is ready to wreak havoc on our health, clogging coronary arteries and increasing cholesterol.
At Expo, Slow Food is telling the story of palm oil at one of the tables in the “Discover Biodiversity” exhibition…
Find out more: