Belgian court slams ‘No Palm Oil’ labels

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 June 2017: 

The Belgian Court of Appeal has ruled that the ‘No Palm Oil’ labels and other associated claims are misleading and without merit nor based on proven scientific facts.

The case in Brussel was brought by a branded chocolate spread and confectionery products producer from Italy – Ferrero – which pursued the appeal against the Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize.

Delhaize has misled its customers when it made wild and inaccurate allegations about palm oil – including on the labels of its own ‘Palm Oil Free’ products, it said.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong expressed his appreciation to Ferrero for pursuing the matter in defence and the use of palm oil sourced primarily from Malaysia, despite the unfavourable ruling made by the Belgian court when the matter was first debated in 2013.

“The ruling on ‘No Palm Oil’ labels by the Belgian court of Appeal has been brought to the attention of the European parliamentarians and a series of important engagements already took place during Malaysia’s Special Mission of Palm Oil to European Parliament, Strasbourg earlier this week,” he said in a statement.

The Belgian court stated emphatically that Delhaize’s allegations about palm oil were “unverifiable, unsubstantiated by fact-based claims and therefore not objective” in relation to both environmental and health allegations it made against palm oil.

The court was highly vocal in its ruling, that Delhaize must immediately cease and desist from making these illegal and unjust claims against palm oil through such ‘No Palm Oil’ labels and its associated claims.

Failure to comply with the court’s ruling could result in imposition or pain of serious financial penalties up to a maximum of €1 million, it said.

Mah was in Rome, Italy for a two-day mission from June 14 to promote and strengthen commodities – based especially on palm oil associated business linkages between government and private sectors in Italy.

He applauded the Italian government’s support of sustainable oil palm cultivation by signing the Amsterdam Declaration 2015.

The minister also reiterated that Malaysia is making its own sustainability commitment by mandating the entire palm oil production in Malaysia will be sustainably certified through the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil Certification standard by 2020.

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