An expert from the Palm Oil Refiners Association of Malaysia (PORAM) is telling the palm oil industry on Friday (7/2) that they have to come together, put their house in order first, if they wanted to be able to face the attacks directed towards the industry.
“The key point here, the problem with our industry is — I see this whether it is in Indonesia or in Malaysia, or even in Thailand, the symptoms are the same — until today, everybody works in silos. The industry has to come together,” Muhammad Mohan, from PORAM told a Forum organized by the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) discussing efforts to mitigate contaminants in palm oil to meet food safety standards.
Mohan said that it was now time to resolve this silo mentality and called on both the upstream and downstream sectors of the industry to work together,
“What I think the industry must do, we must come together. We know we have foes out there, or you may say enemies out there, but we got to put our house in order and we fight based on science,” Mohan said.
Among the fights that the industry, both upstream and downstream, should pick is to do all what was possible to avoid getting palm oil banned from use in food as at present, 70 percent of palm oil were for the food sector.
“We should fight at all cost to avoid people from banning palm oil from food. That is the last thing we want to see happening,” Mohan said.
He said that while the industry is now facing the necessity to reduce levels of 3-MCPD and GE, two contaminants, in palm oil as with in other oils and fat and that the facts were that researches have shown that the levels of those two contaminants were consistently high in palm oil, compared to in other vegetable oils.
“We have to face this challenge and solve it,” Mohan said, adding that there were already various technologies available to address the issue but that the quality of the crude palm oil to be refined was equally important.
The higher the crude palm oil quality the easier it is refined he said, adding that one of the criteria of good quality palm oil is the low level of chlorine content,
Although chlorine could now be washed away physically, or chemically, there was often also one aspect of the process that was ignored.
“What we are saying is the time has come that you have to segregate our palm oil into different categories. Good oils put it aside,” Mohan said adding that this good quality oil could fetch premium prices.
Another argument in favour of segregation is that low quality secondary oils such as from Empty Fruit Bunch (EFB), would only lower the quality of the CPO if mixed with it.
“So, our recommendation is this secondary oil, we don’t want you to dump it away of throw it away, we want every drop of oil so that you can make money out of it. But what we are suggesting to you is to separate this, keep it in a separate tank,” he said.