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Testers demand evidence of sustainable palm oil production
Healthy margarine has long been considered an alternative to butter. But the “healthy image” is crumbling. On the one hand, the vegetable fats are mixed with harmful palm oil, on the other hand, Öko-Test also found harmful substances in organic margarines. Here is an overview of the results:
Many people prefer to put margarine on their bread instead of butter. Be it because you want to do without animal products or because vegetable fat is considered to be healthier and more environmentally friendly. What many consumers do not know: Margarine often contains palm oil, for which hectares of rainforest are cleared. Öko-Test took a closer look at the spreadable fats and checked their origin and ingredients. The terrifying result: Many organic brands are also contaminated.
Deforestation for palm oil plantations
Margarine consists of 30 percent palm oil. The most commonly used vegetable oil in the world is obtained from the fruits of the oil palm and, according to the nature and environmental protection organization “WWF”, is currently contained in about every second supermarket product. The problem here: hectares of rainforest are being cut down for production. This has serious consequences such as the emission of immense amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the loss of biodiversity.
Manufacturers rely on RSPO certification
Many manufacturers are now using palm oil with RSPO certification, which confirms that the oil comes from sustainable production. However, a current study by the "Öko-Test" magazine shows that this certificate also does not appear to guarantee that the criteria for environmentally friendly production are actually fully complied with.
20 margarines and spreads in the test
Öko-Test examined 20 different margarines and spreadable fats in the laboratory, including the four organic products "Alnatura Margarine three-quarter fat", "Rapunzel Prima Pure Vegetable Margarine", "Alsan-Bio Margarine" and "Landkrone Bio-Margarine". Since all tested products contain palm oil, the testers asked the manufacturers for proof of the origin of the oil or evidence of the RSPO certification. According to the magazine's report, the testers received answers to 19 of the products tested, according to which 18 should only contain palm oil certified according to the RSPO standard.
Not all manufacturers submit receipts
Significant evidence of the entire manufacturing process was, however, only provided by the organic suppliers and the conventional manufacturers Walter Rau and Vandemoortele - each for the respective discounter products. Sustainably produced palm oil can therefore be found in "Deli Reform Das Original", "Landkost Plant Margarine" and the margarines from Aldi Süd, Norma and Globus (produced by Walter Rau) as well as those from Aldi Nord, Kaufland and Lidl (produced by Vandemoortele).
No information about health food margarine
The global group Unilever, on the other hand, did not provide evidence for its four tested products ("Homa Gold", "Becel Gold", "Rama Dreiviertelfett" and "Flora Vegetable Margarine"), so that Öko Test only met the criteria of the RSPO certificate sent as " partially “fulfilled rated. From the experts' point of view, REWE was also only able to "partially prove" the required criteria, and the provider Heirler made no statements for its product "Eden Die Gute Vegetable Margarine with Sunflower Oil" from the health food store.
Fat pollutants in organic products
The experts also made some unpleasant discoveries in the laboratory. All four organic margarines tested therefore contained fatty pollutants, with the highest exposure being found in the Alsan organic margarine. In addition, three of the four organic margarines only got a “satisfactory” (Rapunzel, Alsan) or “sufficient” (crown of the land) fat composition because they provide plenty of saturated but not very unsaturated fatty acids.
Too much saturated fat
This can be detrimental to health, because according to studies, eating a diet rich in saturated fatty acids increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In the overall assessment, only the Alnatura margarine achieved a “satisfactory” for the organic spreadable fats, all others received an “adequate” or even “insufficient”.
It is also unpleasant that all four organic products measured increased to greatly increased levels of saturated mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOSH / POSH). These are suspected to be potentially carcinogenic and should therefore be used as little as possible in food. Heirler's “Eden Die Gute” reached the highest value here.
"It is annoying. All four organic brands are heavily polluted. Why don't the manufacturers manage to get a better grip on it? ”Says the Öko-Test editor and nutritionist, Birgit Hinsch, according to the magazine.
Discounter margarine performs best
A total of six of the spreadable fats tested achieved a “poor”, including e.g. “Becel Gold”, the “Yes! Plant Margarine ”by Rewe,“ Bellasan ”by Aldi Süd and“ Landkost Plant Margarine ”by Walter Rau. The well-known “Rama” by Unilver as well as “Frisan” by Norma and “Eden the Good” were rated as “insufficient” by the experts.
The best overall rating was given to “Deli Reform Das Original” by Walter Rau, “K-Classic Plant Margarine” by Kaufland and “Vita D'Or Classic by Lidl” (both from the producer Vandemoortele). These three came to a “satisfactory” for the ingredients and a “very good” for the fat composition, and all of them were able to provide the necessary evidence for RSPO certification.
Digression Unhealthy Palm Fats
"The problem with palm oil is the content of saturated fatty acids," say experts. These lead to "deterioration in blood lipids, which ultimately increases the risk of diabetes". As if that weren't enough, damage to the vascular wall and so-called oxidative stress "can lead to vascular calcification being promoted and is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke and even death". (sb, nr)