WHO study likens palm oil lobbying to tobacco and alcohol industries - NBCNews.com
NBC News - Wed 9 Jan 19:43 GMT

WHO study likens palm oil lobbying to tobacco and alcohol industries - NBCNews.com

New study shows that lobbyists in the palm oil industry may have influenced research to show overwhelmingly positive health associations despite mixed research.

  The palm oil industry is deploying tactics similar to those of the alcohol and tobacco industries to influence research into the health effects of its product, a study published by the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

  Evidence of the health impact of palm oil is mixed, with some studies linking consumption to several ailments, including increased risk of death from heart disease caused by narrowing arteries, the report said.

  Palm oil is naturally more solid than most other vegetable oils, and the demise of trans fats will leave it as an easy choice for ultra-processed foods, said the study, co-authored by researchers at the U.N. children’s fund UNICEF, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Britain’s University of Exeter.

  The authors of the study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, said they found nine pieces of research showing overwhelmingly positive health associations, but four of them were authored by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.

  The study also pointed to the health effect of the production of palm oil in countries where it is grown, with slash-and-burn agriculture causing air pollution and haze linked to premature deaths, respiratory illness and cardiovascular diseases.