THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING HABITAT
THE CANDY CULPRIT
YOU GET A CLUE
Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil that comes from the pulp of oil palm tree fruit. Native to West Africa, the oil palm tree is now most commonly grown in the tropics of Southeast Asia. There has recently been an increase in palm oil production in South America too. It is the most commonly produced vegetable oil in the world and is incorporated in a wide range of products, including many food items like candy, as well as other products like cosmetics and biofuels.
Palm oil is sourced from places in the world where it is cheaply produced, but at a very high cost—the habitat of many species, some that are critically endangered.
There has been outcry in the past years regarding palm oil and its production, so there have been efforts to educate people about the products and companies that use them, and to influence companies to utilize different ingredients or sustainable practices that do not threaten the habitats of endangered species.
SOMETHING IS WRITTEN ON THE BACK OF THE CANDY WRAPPER
1. MAKE A LIST: CANDY
- Make a list of your favorite candies, or candies that your family buys regularly.
- What company or companies produce each kind of candy?
HINT: If you have the candy on hand, the company name will be on the packaging.
2. MAKE A LIST: INGREDIENTS
- Make a list of the ingredients listed on the wrapper.
- If you don’t have the candy that you’d like to learn about in your hands, you can easily find the ingredients online.
- Now, flag any ingredients with the word “palm” or “palm oil derivative” in them. If “palm” is anywhere in the ingredient name—like palm kernel oil, sodium palmate, palm olein, vitamin A palmitate—that ingredient is derived from palm oil!
Do you know what each of the ingredients are? Some of them may have weird names. If you don’t know what the ingredients are (or if something uses its chemical rather than its common name), do a little research to find out its common name. This is simple to find out: just input the name into an internet search to find out what it is; next, search “how is (name of ingredient) produced?”
Palm oil derivatives go by hundreds of different names in all types of consumer products. Click here to visit the Orangutan Alliance’s website for a list of alternate palm oil names.
3. FIND THE CANDY COMPANY
The name and address are listed on the wrapper.
It’s time to find out more about the company that makes your candy.