The government has been asked to take firm action against food manufacturers using the no palm oil label
The inclusion of the No Palm Oil label is not allowed because it violates government regulations in the Food Act and the Regulation of the Drug and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM).
For this reason, the government must take firm action against food manufacturers who put the No Palm Oil label on their packaging. The use of this label is a black campaign aimed at suppressing the competitiveness of oil palm.
Professor of the Catholic University of Santo Thomas North Sumatra, Posman Sibuea, stated that the Indonesian government must protect oil palm from black campaigns because it can reduce people's interest in consuming it. The circulation of food products labeled No Palm Oil will harm industry players, including farmers.
The threat of the palm oil free label has emerged since 2017 until now. For example, Pod Chocolate with the label No Palm Oil on the packaging of a product. This product is owned by an expatriate who opens a business in Bali.
“The inclusion of the No Palm Oil label clearly violates government regulations such as the Food Law and BPOM regulations. The government, through BPOM, should have taken firm action against companies that labeled No palm Oil, "Posman explained in the Indonesian Palm Oil Magazine Webinar Dialogue on the theme of" The Contribution of Palm Oil to Fulfillment of Nutrition in Indonesia and the World ", Tuesday (23/2) as quoted.
This dialogue featured four other speakers, namely Purwiyatno Hariyadi, Professor of IPB University, Dhian Dipo, Director of Community Nutrition at the Indonesian Ministry of Health, Sri Raharjo, Professor of UGM, Fajar Marhaendra, R&D Product Application Manager of APICAL Group (PT Asianagro Agungjaya)
Posman said that this palm oil is the future oil as a golden crop. The productivity is very high compared to other vegetable oils. "The productivity of palm oil is three to four times higher than soybean and sunflower oil," he said.
He added that the negative campaign against palm oil is getting more intense because it is cheap and not as good as other vegetable oils. " Finally, the issue of palm oil causes heart disease and obesity, so that palm oil is labeled unhealthy, " Posman said.
This issue is exaggerated by the people of the European Union to discredit palm oil. "The small (shortage) of palm oil is exaggerated to cover the weaknesses of their (European) vegetable oil," he stressed.
In addition, he said, palm oil is the backbone of the agro-industry in Indonesia and Malaysia. Nearly 30 million people depend on the palm oil industry from upstream to downstream. "This industry contributes to domestic employment," he explained.
Purwiyatno Hariyadi, a professor of IPB University, revealed that palm oil as a food ingredient contributes to solving global nutritional problems. There are several challenges that must be overcome by the palm oil industry. Among them are food safety, health and sustainability.
"We must ensure that palm oil derivative products meet food safety requirements. Until now, around 75-85 percent of the use of palm oil is for the food sector, "he said.
Therefore, if there is a food problem for consumers, this will affect the image of palm oil as a whole. In the world, demands for food security have become a necessity. "We have a moral responsibility that palm oil meets food safety standards and this responsibility also applies to domestic consumers because Indonesia is the number one consumer of palm oil in the world," he explained.
Going forward, Indonesia needs to develop a roadmap in dealing with health issues in oil palm. "Therefore, Indonesia must have a scientific position of palm oil in dealing with trans fatty acids (trans fat) and nutrition," he said.
In addition, the government needs to create a national program to ensure that palm oil products circulating in Indonesia contain low 3-MCPD and GE content. "We need to encourage R&D to take advantage of the potential for trans fat free and nutrients from palm oil," he explained.
Sri Raharjo Professor of the Faculty of Agricultural Technology, Gadjah Mada University explained that the phytonutrients in red palm oil such as tocopherols, tocotrienols, and carotene are very useful for increasing the immune system during a pandemic. These three phytonutrients are appreciated for improving endurance.
"If we talk about improving endurance it can be through food intake. It can also be done with another approach, that the phytonutrients can be positioned as an immune booster. This is used for people who are malnourished, "he said.
Meanwhile, Dhian Dipo, Director of Public Nutrition at the Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) recorded 144 million children with stunting, 47 million malnourished children and 38 million overweight children. Indonesia is currently experiencing the problem of deficiency of micro-nutrients in children, especially vitamin A deficiency
"This causes a decrease in immune system in toddlers, so that children get sick easily, reduced food intake and the result is stunting or short stature. In addition, there are cognitive problems in children aged two years, " Dhian said.
The government has a strategy to reduce stunting, one of which is a food fortification program. "Fortification of salt, wheat flour, vitamin A cooking oil, and rice," he said.
Fajar Marhaendra, R&D Product Appication Manager of Apical Group, explained that Apical is committed to producing low trans and zero trans food products. Currently also developing enzymatic inter-esterification technology with the aim of producing products that are healthier, without fatty acids and environmentally friendly. APICAL products in the public can be found, including cooking oil, margarine and ghee.
From the sustainability aspect, Fajar said, the company provides the best solution to ensure consumers buy products that contain certified and sustainable palm oil. The company has certificates according to global demands such as HACCP, RSPO, ISCC, and halal certificates.