Arla Foods removes ‘no oil palm’ labels from Lurpak products

Mah (seated) examines products by Arla Foods (Lurpak Butter) while being briefed by Mark Boots, vice-president for Arla Foods South East Asia.


KUALA LUMPUR: Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong held a discussion with Nina Hvid Talvela, Minister Counsellor, Food, Agriculture and Fisheries from the Royal Danish Embassy and representatives from Arla Foods here yesterday.

The discussion was held on issues related to trade in palm oil, particularly on anti-palm oil campaigns and negative labeling of palm oil products.

According to a press release, Mah expressed his displeasure over the negative labeling or “no palm oil” label on products by Danish companies.

On Sept 16, a news article published by The Star brought the issues of “no palm oil” labels to wider attention. The media article – “Ethical Labelling: The Way to Go” – highlighted Arla Foods’ use of “no palm oil” labels in Malaysia.

Since the article was published, Arla Foods has taken action to remove from sale in Malaysia all products bearing “no palm oil” or “palm oil free” labels as it discriminates unfairly against palm oil.

All of the affected labels and products are expected to be removed from sale within 60 days. During the meeting, Arla Foods confirmed that this action will take place.

Mah expressed his satisfaction that Arla Foods has agreed to his request to withdraw the labels. This is a positive move to benefit Malaysian oil palm smallholders, growers, and for consumers.

During the meeting, Mah emphasised that palm oil remains an important lifeline for rural communities as 650,000 smallholders depend on it and are responsible for 40 per cent of the production. In addition, about 2 million others directly and indirectly benefit from the palm oil industry.

The palm oil industry is also an important contributor to GDP and export earnings. Therefore, the government will assiduously counter any negative campaign against it; be it domestically or abroad.

Mah reiterated Malaysia’s commitment in ensuring the production of sustainable palm oil through the mandatory implementation of Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) by December 2019.

In this regard, Mah proposed that the Danish government work closely with Malaysia to obtain recognition of MSPO in Denmark and the European Union.

This is in line with the pledge by the Government of Denmark through the signing of the Amsterdam Declaration in December 2015 to promote and support a fully sustainable palm oil supply chain by 2020.

The Danish Embassy and Arla Foods expressed its firm support for Malaysian small farmers and commitment to work with the ministry on policies related to palm oil and other commodities.

They also expressed their support for MSPO and said they will work with Malaysia in correcting the negative perception of palm oil. — Bernama