Wednesday, 10 June 2009

First the good news

My Mornflake package arrived yesterday and so no more cornflakes! The Granny Smith Apple Oat Crisp Cereal is really nice and I enjoyed it every bit as much as I used to Special K. I have also tasted the Oatbran Flakes and they too are much nicer than cornflakes.

I was a bit alarmed though to see vegetable oil in the list of ingredients. Mornflake's manufacturers assured me "None of the products we make contain palm oil". When pressed on the raisins in their muesli (after what Weetabix Ltd told me) they admitted that yes, they were processed (not by them) using palm oil. So, I thought that the rest of their products were safe for me to use. I have e-mailed them this morning asking for reassurance that the vegetable oil isn't palm oil. I really hope it isn't.

I got a response from Weetabix Ltd, they sent me a list of their products which are palm oil free and in answer to my criticism that they are not members of RSPO:
"We are a very small user of Palm Oil and do not buy it directly ourselves. We actively seek to pursue RSPO policies and we make sure our suppliers are members, or they obtain their supplies of Palm Oil from members, of the RSPO. "

I have to commend Weetabix, I think they have been the most open, honest and transparent in their e-mail dealings with me. The Mornflake manufacturers only came clean about raisins when I pressed them, I really hope that pressing them on the vegetable oil in one of their products won't have a similar admission. I'm going to be trying some of the following products from Weetabix which are palm oil free:

Alpen Light bar chocolate and orange
Alpen Light bars chocolate and fudge
Oaty Bars Milk Chocolate
Weetabix Organic
Weetabix Bitesize
Weetabix Minis Honey and Nut Crisp
Weetabix Minis Chocolate Crisp
Oatibix Bites
Oatibix Bites
Ready brek Original
Ready brek Chocolate
Ready brek Honey
Crunchy Bran
Weetos Meteors
Weetos Cereal Bar
Oatibix flakes

I also got a long response from Tesco in more depth about the products they carry and palm oil. This one is more considered. They are recent members of RSPO and are
"currently in lengthy discussions with our suppliers, to identify how we can all work together to achieve the goal of a genuinely sustainable supply of Palm Oil, and over which time scale."

I hope this will be quicker than Sainsbury's policy which is 2015 (we'll have lost an immeasurable amount of rainforest by then!)

Now the BAD NEWS. I have cancelled my order with Weleda. After I blogged yesterday, I had a thought about what Lush were doing about palm oil and I discovered that they changed to a non-palm oil base for their soaps about two years ago.

I did a bit more digging and although their products are virtually palm oil free now, they still use sodium stearate and sodium laurel/lauryl (don't know the correct spelling of that, I've seen it in many places as both). Both of these contain traces of palm oil or are derived from it and are made by third parties. So, I put two and two together in my head and ask myself if Weleda also use these things. I look in their list of ingredients of some of the items that I purchased and lo and behold they do!

Further, I investigated one more of the list of ingredients "glyceryl stearate" and that is also derived from palm oil. I went back over my e-mails with them and whilst they haven't out and out lied about palm oil, they KNOW what I was asking when I asked about labelling of palm oil. They confirmed that palm oil was labelled as sodium palmate on their products but they failed to tell me that other ingredients might have palm oil in them. I consider this, if not dishonest, it is extremely economical with the truth. I have cancelled my order and am now back to square one on the toiletries front.

I stopped using Lush products after reading that their founder funds that Plane Stupid organisation that disrupted Heathrow last year but I think I might forgive him if he is taking steps to get the other ingredients out of his products. I'll write tomorrow. I've had enough writing for today.


  1. The way these companies 'disguise' their ingredients is terrible. I think it's fab that you're getting answers, Sue!

    1. According to Weetabix own website, they do use palm oil, as well as rapeseed oil - harmful to bees if not organic!

  2. Thanks Laura, I don't feel I'm getting very far with it, though I will keep trying!

  3. Hi there have you checked out little Satsuma? All products are palm oil free as are the RSPB little dipper range.

  4. Hi Rachael, thanks, yes I am using Little Satsuma soap and deoderant but I don't get on with their shampoo bar. (See my 24 June blog entry for more). I'm currently using Elemis for palm oil free shampoo and conditioner.

  5. This is incorrect information if we are to follow this from Weetabix own website! Rapeseed oil is also harmful - unless it's organic - to the bees due to chemicals they spray on this mono crops! But yes, back to Palm Oil, read this:

  6. I never said all their products were palm oil free, I listed the ones they told me were Palm oil free at that time.

  7. I wrote all this a long time ago, if they've revised their policy, I haven't kept up to date. Do you know why I have given up pursuing environmental matters? Because the time it takes to deal with attacks and criticism by people who really ought to be on the same side. It's no wonder politicians think we're nut cases. People are so bloody stupid, we deserve the planet we've got, we're too busy being horrible to each other to have time to devote to things that really matter.