Palm Oil Diplomacy
Palm oil has been at the center of many heated debates, some of them dealing with whether or not there should be clear laws that regulate the production of palm oil. The article "Palm Oil Diplomacy" by Luke Hunt is an example of such debates. According to the article, a certain Australian senator Nick Xenophon felt that consumers should know whether or not the palm oil they consume was obtained through deforestation, resulting in labeling products that contain palm oil. However, there is controversy around the matter as the Malaysian palm oil industry sees it as a foe to local workers and overall non-beneficial to the state of poverty Malaysia is in. However, the writer of the article attests of the destruction of habitat that is caused by palm oil plantations, and goes on to say that there is physical proof of such claims, stretching from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau or Sandakan in Southeast Asia.
I thought this article was interesting in the way that it presents both aspects of the issue around palm oil: On one hand there is the problem that palm oil is unhealthy, which justifies the need for labeling goods and foods that contain it, while on the other hand, according to the nations where it is grown in majority, palm oil does not harm the environment and also provides work and income for the workers.
Now we have to wonder, which side do we choose, as either consumer or producer. One way to decide would be to think about it in terms of what palm oil means to us. If one considers palm oil as an unhealthy choice, then he or she will probably choose to think as a consumer, while if one sees palm oil as being good for overall health and has a generally positive view of palm oil, he or she will probably pick the producer's side.
Research has been done in relation to the potential benefits palm oil yields where cancer is concerned. In fact, the article "A New Dietary Oil For the New Millennium-Red Palm oil" features results obtained from experiments conducted using red palm oil. According to the article, "Preliminary research completed at the University of Louisiana and University of Wisconsin in the United States, University of Readings in the United Kingdom and the University of Western Ontario in Canada, suggests palm tocotrienols to be a chemopreventive agent, inhibiting the growth of breast cancer cells. Another study found palm tocotrienols to be just as effective as Tamoxifen, the drug used to treat breast cancer patients. And when used in combination with tocotrienols, Tamoxifen was 45 percent more potent." Tocotrienols are a "super" antioxidant derived of vitamin E. Such groundbreaking discoveries, if well advertised, could revolutionize the world of cancer treatment.