‘Palm-leaks’, big stink in Brussels as well

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On May 3, the European Food Safety Authority decreed (1) the serious danger-for younger segments of the population especially-of carcinogenic and genotoxic contaminants present in palm fat in extraordinary quantities. On May 10, Great Italian Food Trade published the‘Palm-Leaks‘ (2), multinational food corporations at least since 2004 knew about the health risks associated with palm and increased its use rather than blocking it. Today, from the secret chambers of power in Brussels, another ‘pouring’ of horrible news. Let’s see what this is all about.

We receive and publish excerpts from ‘EU sources’ on the outcome of the meeting organized by the European Commission with member state representatives to address the ‘palm toxicity’ emergency:

– the expert group ‘Industrial and Environmental Committee‘, section ‘Toxicological Safety of the Food Chain‘ – as part of the so-called ‘Standing Committee on Plants, Animals Food and Feed’ – received presentation by an Efsa representative of the Authority’s scientific opinion on human health risks associated with 3-mcpd, 2-mcpd and glycol esters in food,

– the panel agreed that European regulatory measures to limit the presence of these contaminants in food are ‘appropriate to ensure a high level of human health protection’ (?),

– spokespersons from national governments and the Commission (DG Santé, sigh!) also delighted in an ‘initial exchange of views on possible options for risk management measures.’ An ‘attempted timetable’ for debates on the topic then appears to have been submitted,

– the next meeting of the ‘Committee of Experts’ is expected to take place in the second half of June, ‘probably’.

Communiqués on the ‘palm risk’ from Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, theoretically charged with protecting European consumers, are still missing.

‘To think wrong is to sin, but it is often guessed,’ taught one of the leading figures of Italian politics in the last century (3). It seems perhaps legitimate to suspect the connivance of authorities charged with safeguarding public health with the unusual ‘clique’ of large users of palm in the food industry and Asian producers of the tropical fat. Which may well explain the apparent calm of the respective lobbies (4) in the aftermath of the Efsa opinion.

In our own small way, we cheer for the safeguarding of public health that should follow the criteria established in Europe with the so-called ‘General Food Law’ (reg. EC 178/02).

Dario Dongo

(1) https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/l’palm-oil-contains-carcinogenic-and-genotoxic-substances-efsa-alerts-for-children-and-adolescents-in-italy-consumes-record

(2) https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/palma-leaks-le-multinazionali-di-‘big-food’-had-known-for-a-dozen-years-about-the-danger-cancer-and-genotoxicity-for-children-and-adolescents

(3) https://it.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Giulio_Andreotti

(4) https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/palm-oil-the-game-is-almost-over