Negative impact of palm oil use in developing countries
The use of palm oil is widespread in developing countries because of its cheap availability. It is extracted from the fruits of the African Oil Palm tree. It is used in different forms: refined, blended or in the form of vanaspati. Studies have highlighted the negative impact of the oil’s use in India. India is the largest importer and consumer of the palm oil. The major producers are Malaysia and Indonesia – which accounts for 80% of the global supply though the tree itself originated from Africa. Almost 50% of the oil is composed of saturated fatty acids which is responsible for ‘bad’ cholesterol formation. A Stanford University study reported increased risk of stroke and ischemic heart disease due to increased palm oil consumption. Another study reported that every additional kg of palm oil consumed increased the mortality by 68 per 100,000 people because of heart diseases. A Malaysian study highlighted the increase in arterial blockage by plaque formation due to consumption of reheated palm oil. Palm oil industry is also deleterious to the environment as large areas of rain-forests are cleared for its plantation.