A leading French health expert speaking on French national radio clarified palm oil’s health benefits, following inaccurate anti-palm oil allegations that misinformed a national debate on taxing the vegetable oil.
Professor Bernard Guy Grand, Scientific Coordinator for a respected French health and food policy think-tank and a leading French health expert, argued that palm oil contains essential fats with a high melting point, making it healthier alternative hydrogenated vegetable oils that contain dangerous trans-fats. The interview was broadcast on Radio France Internationale, and formed part of a series discussing a recent anti-palm oil campaign run in France.
Professor Grand commented that relatively little palm oil is consumed in France, and that efforts to label the vegetable oil as a public health risk are misguided. Grand also highlighted the valuable physical properties that make palm oil ideal for the production of certain foodstuff; and the importance of the crop’s contribution to the economic development of producer countries in Asia and Africa.
This sentiment was reinforced by Abdoulaye Berté, representing the Côte d’Ivoire’s Association of Palm Oil Producers (Association Ivoirienne des Producteurs de Palmiers à Huile/AIPH). Berté argued that the misguided campaign to limit palm oil consumption in France would have a negative impact on the livelihoods of two million people involved in the country’s industry. According to Berté, palm oil is “a tool to tackle poverty and it is simplistic to blame palm oil for being source of cardio vascular diseases.”
Professor Grand’s comments follow the release of new research undertaken by the Fonds Francais pour l’Alimentation et la Santé (FFAS), addressing the Nutritional, Social and Environmental Aspects of Palm Oil and communicating the factual benefits of palm oil for French consumers.