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Malaysia’s Biggest Supermarket Chain Takes Down Palm-Oil-Free Items

Malaysia’s largest supermarket chain Mydin has removed products labeled palm-oil-free from its stores, its top executive stated Thursday, as part of a campaign by the world’s second-largest producer of the oil to protect the commodity’s picture at home and overseas.

The $60 billion world palm oil sector has been the target of environmentalists due to the vast regions of tropical rainforest they say have been cleared to develop the commodity. The European Union this year handed an act to eliminate palm oil from renewable fuel by 2030 as a result of deforestation concerns.

Malaysia, which together with neighbor Indonesia produces around 85% of the world’s palm, is contemplating a law forbidding all products flaunting non-use of the oil. Malaysia has also launched a global public relations and lobbying offensive to protect the status of its key export.

Ameer Ali Mydin, managing director of Mydin Mohamed Holding, stated his stores eliminated all anti-palm products Wednesday to inform the importance of palm oil to the Malaysian economy, Southeast Asia’s third-largest.

He said the anti-palm products at his stores had been imported; however, refused to provide any figures.

Teresa Kok, Malaysia’s minister of significant industries, welcomed Mydin’s step and informed reporters she hoped other supermarket outlets and shops within the nation would follow suit. In July, the Malaysian government promised action against an international school for spreading “anti-palm oil propaganda.”

Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producer, in August instructed some retailers in the capital Jakarta to take down food merchandise with “palm oil-free” labels from their outlets.