Monday, 3 August 2009

Today - toothpaste

I am on the trail of palm oil free toothpaste today. I have found a shop called Animal Aid Shop and the page I have linked to has some toothpaste on it. I wrote to them last week and they tell me that they are very careful to buy products which do not contain palm oil wherever possible; they stock the Little Satsuma soaps, candles and palm-oil free fudge. They say their chocolates are fine, but some toiletries may contain palm oil.

They haven't specifically stated that the toothpaste is palm oil free but the ingredients are: Aqua, Glycerine (Veg), Creta praeparata, Xanthan gum, Commiphora myrrha, Asorbic acid, D-limolene, (from essential oils), Natural flavour oils. They further state that their toothpaste does not contain Sodium lauryl sulphate, fluorides or Parabens. So I can't find any of the usual suspects in there but I have today discovered on Wikipedia that Glycerine is derived from vegetable oil so I may have to add that one to the list. Before I clarify with Animal Aid, I've written to Colgate, Aquafresh and GlaxoSmithKline (re: Macleans) to see if any of their toothpastes contain palm oil or palm oil derivatives. If any of these are OK, then I won't need to switch anyway.

I've had a very late response from Tesco, I wrote a follow up e-mail to them on 17 June complaining about how labelling was making it very difficult for me to avoid palm oil and suggesting that they could work with the WWF as they're doing a lot of research on their palm oil scorecard. As Tesco already have a database of all the products they sell in their store, it wouldn't be that much more work to add a field for palm oil so people could consult it on-line.

They thank me for writing and apologise for the delay in replying. They acknowledge my difficulty but say they have no plans to introduce a list of free from Palm Oil products.

Tesco have confirmed that two of their own brand products I specifically asked about (Tesco Baby Lotion and the Tesco Finest Greek Olive spread) do not contain palm oil. They offer to query further products if I write again. I was really hoping they might consider some kind of honest labelling policy like the Co-Op which I find really helpful and gives me confidence when buying Co-Op own brand products. (I've therefore written to them to suggest it).

They say that they've fully logged my concerns and they feel that the work they are putting in to bring sustainable ingredients to the market place will stand them in good stead for the scorecard process. I hope the WWF penalise misleading "vegetable oil" labelling of their products when preparing their scorecard.

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