KUALA LUMPUR: Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas is concerned about the implementation of the Food Information Regulation (FIR) in the European Union (EU).
He said while the ruling requires all food product manufacturers to identify the specific vegetable oil used, some countries went overboard to indicate that their products were not made using palm oil.
“There are 687 products with 603 of them in France and labelled ‘Sans huile de palm’or ‘Palm Oil Free’. ‘Palm Oil Free” labelling increased rapidly in France and Belgium in 2014 by 116 per cent compared to 2013,” said Uggah in his speech welcoming the visit of four French senators at Malaysian Palm Oil Board here yesterday.
The four French senators are Gerard Miquel, Bernard Saugey, Simon Sutour and Marie-Helene des Esgaul.
Uggah said among issues discussed with the senators were labelling of palm oil products by French vegetable oils and fats trade fraternity, sustainable development of oil palm in Malaysia, negative perceptions on health aspects of palm oil vis-à-vis other vegetable oils and fats.
“Malaysia always regarded France as an important traditional market and Malaysia is hopeful of stronger ties with them in the oil palm trade.
“For January-March 2015, Malaysia exports palm oil products to France valued at RM25.1 million
“In 2014, Malaysia’s exports of palm oil and palm-based products to France were valued at RM8.16 million, up 20.3 per cent from RM2.16 million in 2013,” he said.
“Major palm oil and palm-based products exported to France in 2014 were oleochemicals products with RM55.6 million; palm oil (RM8.16 million); palm kernel oil (RM3.1 million); and, other palm-based products (RM1.8 million),” he said. — Bernama