The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) has hit back against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation to avoid consuming saturated fats – including palm oil.
In a statement, the CPOPC announced that it had sent an objection letter to the WHO for publishing and disseminating an infographic flyer entitled “Nutrition advice for adults during Covid-19”.
The letter is also requesting that the WHO revise its earlier statement with an official explanation, with a representative of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean office having confirmed the receipt of the objection letter.
The flyer was published by the WHO regional officer for the Eastern Mediterranean, endorsing adults to avoid eating saturated fats, with palm oil under the list of oils and fats to avoid.
The CPOPC said the letter sent to the WHO includes scientifically verified facts. These include palm oil containing various fatty acids (which have been confirmed by many global scientific studies).
Furthermore, the CPOPC highlighted that palm-oil based cooking oil is obtained from olein, a liquid fraction of crude palm oil (CPO) produced through a series of refining, bleaching and deodorising (RBD) processes.
“The RBD palm olein, or the cooking oil as retailed in the market, has lower saturated fats than unprocessed CPO. Accordingly, when it is consumed as part of a balanced diet, RBD palm olein does not have any incremental risk for cardiovascular disease,” the CPOPC noted.
It added that RBD is an excellent source of tocotrienols, a form of Vitamin E, with some studies suggesting that RBD palm olein has positive effects on cardiovascular disease prevention.
“The recommendation on saturated fats from most health agencies worldwide is to check your consumption and not to avoid altogether. The WHO infographic is therefore misleading and not warranted as palm oil is the vegetable oil most consumed in the world,” the CPOPC added.
This rebuke is the latest in response to the WHO flyer. In Malaysia, the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) has also issued its own response to the flyer, highlighting the nutritional benefits of palm oil and hitting back against the advice issued by the WHO in the flyer.