The problem with palm oil

While visiting my parents in Phoenix last weekend, my husband and I took a stroll around the Phoenix Zoo. I was particularly charmed by the orangutans, including one adorable baby and mother, who clung to and gazed each other in a beautifully affectionate way. But I got a wake-up call I wasn't expecting: Next to the orangutan enclosure was a series of signs decrying the destruction of native orangutan habitat in Borneo and Sumatra, largely because of the demand for palm oil. Turns out, in the effort to eliminate trans fats, industries have turned to palm oil, spiking demand considerably. There's a movement afoot to institute a sustainable palm oil certification, which you could start seeing on food and other products early this year. So read labels! If the item uses palm oil or hearts of palm and you can't tell if it's from a sustainable source, write the company and ask.

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