|Health and environmental issues of palm oil|
The very high profitability of oil palm combined with its intrinsic qualities and a massive and growing demand for food, as well as geographically concentrated cultivation conditions, leads to a definite impact on deforestation in producer countries, which is difficult to quantify precisely. While the past is irreversible, the future of primary forests is threatened by increased global demand for palm oil due to its recent use in first generation biofuels. In terms of health, its use in food may, in certain cases, present a risk because of its high palmitic acid content and its frequent presence in processed food products, while real levels of consumption are unknown. Its use in cosmetics does not present any particular risk. Certification is necessary to trace the origin, but with regard to European requirements, it faces uncertainties concerning the definition of the criteria qualifying the importance of the impact on the indirect change of land use.