Sunday, 30 May 2010

Handwash and beef update

I bought some more handwash from L'Occitane yesterday and this reminded me that I haven't had either an e-mail response or a reply to my snail mail letter to them. I have only heard third hand through anecdotal evidence that most of their ranges are palm oil free. So, when making my purchase I asked the shop assistant if she could confirm the UK head office address. After a brief discussion of why I wanted it, she brought the Manager over who was surprised to hear I hadn't had any reply. She wrote the address down and told me that if I still didn't get any response to pop back in and she would take it up with her Regional Manager.

We had a discussion about the ethics of the company and I understand that they do try to be ethical and she said that she was certain that if they do use palm oil in any product it will be sustainable. I expressed my doubts about sustainable palm oil and I think she understood my position on zero-tolerance being the only thing that is going to stop palm oil producers ripping the forest up.

I'm afraid I forgot (again) to go into Boots yesterday to see if they stock the No Flakin' Way shampoo (we haven't run out of Head & Shoulders so not urgent at the moment).

I have however, received a response from Sainsbury's which I'm both happy with and unhappy about! On their own-brand anti-dandruff shampoo, two ingredients may be derived from palm oil (they don't say which two) but anyway, they can't say it's palm oil free so I won't be using that.

On dishwasher tablets, the Sainsbury's own brand do NOT contain any palm oil so am switching to those from Finish as I still haven't heard from Reckitt & Benckiser about theirs.

On the beef, the letter contains this paragraph:
I have contacted our technologists and received the following information. The palm oil is used on the beef to soften the fat at lower temperatures and this ensures the beef is malleable when it is being used. There are few oils which perform well at low temperatures, and we are currently looking for alternatives

I'm happy that they're looking for alternatives, but not happy that they're using palm oil to make the beef malleable (for malleable, I interpret this as tender). As we in Britain have been eating beef for thousands of years without palm oil, it seems daft to be including it now when palm oil has only really started to come to the fore for food use in the last decade (due to all the furore a few years ago about trans fats). As was mentioned in the comments section when I first raised this, the maturation process should tenderise the meat anyway. Nope, can't let them get away with that so will be writing another letter just to make that point.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


Johnson & Johnson have sent me a useless e-mail response saying that they have lots of different countries that they sell their products in so I need to contact my local office. They've only given me a telephone number for their UK office. I hate making phone calls, but if I remember during office hours, I will ring them for an e-mail or snail mail address to write to concerning their Neutrogena T/Gel Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. I forgot to go into Boots on Saturday to see if they stock No Flakin' Way.

Sainsbury's have written me a polite holding letter concerning the palm oil they added to the silverside joint of beef and promise to come back to me within 5 days.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Anti-dandruff update

After using the Hopes anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner since we received them, I'm afraid to report that Geoff's dandruff is back and so I'll finish those products off and he'll have no choice but to go back to Head & Shoulders if we can't find something else that works. I had thought to get him the No Flakin' Way that Laura mentioned in one of her comments. Sainsbury's don't seem to carry it on their website, they list 29 Clairol Herbal Essences products but not No Flakin' Way and for sheer convenience, it would be handy if I could buy it with my weekly on-line shop but I'll pop into Boots next week when I'm in Cambridge and see if they have it.

Sainsbury's do carry Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena T/Gel Anti-Dandruff Shampoo so I've written to J&J via their website asking whether it contains palm oil or palm oil derived products.

Whilst searching Sainsbury's site, I noticed that they now have an own brand of dishwasher tablets and in the absence (still) of a response from Reckitt Benckiser, at the same time as writing to them about the extraordinary use of palm oil in the silverside beef joint, I've asked Sainsbury's about that product as well.

As usual, responses will be posted here.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Beef joints for vegetarians?

I've been meaning to post this for a while as you can probably tell from the "Best By" date on this joint of beef. You can't read the ingredients list very well but here's what it says underneath "small silverside with added basting fat":
Beef (87%), Palm Oil, Rapeseed Oil

I really have to take Sainsbury's to task over this. I can understand them adding fat to a lean cut of beef so it stays moister during cooking but why would you add vegetable fat to a joint of meat?

It can't be to try and persude vegetarians to try eating beef and I hope I don't have to explain why I don't think this can't be the case!

It can't be on the grounds of cost because it must be cheaper when butchering the cow to use fat from the animal itself.

It can't be on the grounds of health because last time I looked into it, the World Health Organisation reported that Palm Oil wasn't particularly healthy compared to other kinds of fats.

It can't be on the grounds of fewer air miles because this was a UK Farm Assured joint and Palm Oil trees only thrive in the tropics so why on earth has Sainsbury's done this?!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Odd characters

I occasionally get comments on this blog that don't make it to the comments section as I reject them. They're usually really general, don't relate to my posting, don't really say anything and are anonymous, all of them include characters looking like this:

I'm assuming that my computer is substituting something else for a font that I don't have on my pc and I'm guessing that it's for a foreign language but I was wondering if anyone knew for sure? I reject them as I think they're just spam but I do wonder if I might be wrong.