Dorset Cereals and palm oil: timestamp

I forgot to keep a record of this. Dated 30 October:


I’m a big fan of Dorset Cereals muesli, and we even have them available at work. However, I was reading the ingredients list on the “Sweet & Juicy: bursting with berries” muesli and came across a reference to palm oil.

Palm oil is implicated in rainforest destruction and loss of biodiversity across the world. Research shows that 86% of all deforestation in Malaysia between 1995 and 2000 was attributed to palm oil development, threatening species such as the orangutan and the proboscis monkey as well as causing social problems for people who live or depend on the forests. Advertisements by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, suggesting that plantations were operated sustainably, were banned by the ASA as being misleading. The oil is also detrimental to health: although an independent board convened by – of all people – a major palm oil manufacturer admitted that they were a marginally better alternative to trans fatty acids, that’s hardly a recommendation from a doctor!

I would appreciate more information on precisely why you are using palm oil in your products when plenty of healthy alternatives are available, and what guarantees you have that your suppliers practice sustainable farming, respect worker rights, maintain biodiversity and prevent their business from impacting detrimentally on local communities.

Best regards [etc.]

A prompt reply, on 31 October:

Dear Ms — [editor’s note: exclamation mark!]

Thank you for your interest in our company and its recipes.

With regard to Palm Oil use in our recipes, we agree with your comments and are working very hard with our suppliers to remove palm oil from our ingredients; however, as I am sure you can imagine this is not a quick process as the fruit is treated as soon as it is cropped so once a year. We are also ensuring that where possible our suppliers, who I can assure you are reputable, are using oil that is responsibly sourced.

I hope this answers your question.

Kind Regards

Lucy Gardiner

Well, without a lot more research I can’t refute any of that. But: once a year. That means they now have at most ten and a half months to get rid. I’ll get back to Mr Gardiner [!] at that point if nothing’s changed.

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4 Responses to Dorset Cereals and palm oil: timestamp

  1. K says:

    The once-a-year thing may be company policy, but it’s not written on big stone tablets. I bet if a big organisation like Greenpeace decided to shine a light on Dorset Cereals they’d be able to move a lot faster than that.

    I contacted them myself on November 5th and was told over the phone that their palm oil is from sustainable sources but they’re trying to find alternatives all the same. They didn’t use the weasel words “where possible” to me.

    Well done on keeping at them. Perhaps you could write to them again saying that palm oil must be bad for human health, given that the simple act of writing a letter about it seems to change your sex.

  2. looby says:

    Yes, I suffered another little set-back the other day when I discovered that Kingfisher toothpaste, the dentifrice of the virtuous, contains the same ingredient. I tried changing to Tom’s of Maine (the well-known hardcore gay porn producer and toothpaste manufacturer) only to be told they’d gone out of business.

  3. sbalb says:

    Oh, how depressing. My experience of Dorset Cereals suggests you could write to them. If they’re as good as they ought to be, they’ll at least look shifty and shuffle their feet as they compose a timely reply.

    If I get a chance (see next post) then I’ll write to them too.

  4. Pingback: Small Beds and Large Bears » Blog Archive » Meet the new price: same as the old price

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