Friday, 09 April 2021 10:49

President clears air on palm oil import ban Featured

Says no prohibition on standard varieties of palm oil imports used in food industry, Asserts palm oil import ban imposed as it is injurious to human health

Despite the immediate ban on import of palm oil announced on Monday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday clarified that standard varieties of palm oil used in bakery, confectionary and food processing industries are not prohibited.

The President’s Media Unit (PMD) issuing a statement yesterday said that there is no prohibition to the importation of ‘palm stearin’ variety for use in the production of relevant food items.

“Standard palm oil varieties are used in the production of biscuits, confectionery and some bakery products. The variant bearing harmonised system code 1511.90.10 is an example. It is commonly known as palm stearin,” the statement said.

The Government completely halted the importation of ethanol, which had been severely criticised in the recent past, but ethanol is allowed to be imported for surgical purposes. “The same goes for the permission to import palm stearin,” the statement said.

It further stated that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa decided to ban the import of palm oil with immediate effect, as the consumption of crude palm oil has adverse effects on public health. “Experts in the medical field and dieticians have repeatedly pointed out that the consumption of food processed using crude palm oil is a major pathogen,” the statement said.

Research has revealed that oil palm cultivation can lead to long-term adverse environmental effects, such as depletion of water resources and soil infertility. Therefore, about six months ago, the President instructed to stop the cultivation of oil palm trees.

The existing palm oil cultivation is planned to be phased out at a rate of 10% at a time and those lands are planned to be replaced with rubber or other eco-friendly cultivations.



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