May 1st, 2009

Tea-drinker par excellence

A double-edged chalice?

This is apparently how, according to Andrew Motion in the Guardian, some American publication described the post of poet laureate. I've had a brief look around on the internet and I can't find the reference, although plenty of people are happy to copy Motion's vague one.

The best I can do is an article by Phil Hammond in the Nursing Times from 1993. Hammond, as you might recall, is that ginger doctor turned humorist and is widely sought for his opinions on health matters.

So, I'm suspicious.
Tea-drinker par excellence

More Palm Oil Problems

Today's Independent is running a story on the problems with palm oil, notably massive rain forest and Orang Utan habitat destruction.

So here's a list of products that contain palm oil, several of which don't mention it. If you needed a reason not to eat Cadbury's chocolate, apart from other stuff being more chocolatey, here's another.

Although the article lays the blame at consumers, none of these companies is advertising the nutty goodness of palm oil as a selling point. In fact, they try to cover it up in some cases. And try buying a Christmas pudding in any supermarket, all of the own brand ones that we looked at, and that was quite a few, had palm oil last year. And many pastry products have palm oil too.

Kellogg's (US) Uses palm oil in 50 products, mostly cereal bars but also cereals such as Special K and Crunchy Nut, where it binds together clusters. Does not buy sustainable palm oil.

Cadbury (UK) Pours palm oil into chocolate bars, including Cadbury Dairy Milk, where it is listed as vegetable oil. Uses 40,000 tonnes a year, none certified as sustainable.

Mars (US/UK) Uses palm oil in Mars Bars, Galaxy and Maltesers, where it is labelled "vegetable fat". Does not buy sustainable palm oil. Says it wants to.

Procter & Gamble (US) Makes Ariel, Daz and Fairy Liquid, where use of palm oil is suspected but unproven. Says it will have a sustainable supply by 2015.

Unilever (UK) World's biggest user of palm oil, which is found in Flora margarine, Pot Noodle, Comfort and Persil. Buys 1.6m tonnes a year – 4.2 per cent of global production. Acknowledging the damage to its reputation and the environment, Unilever set up the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

Kraft (US) Says it does not use palm oil in Dairylea cheese but does in other products. Buys half a per cent of global supply. Says it will move to sustainable palm oil by 2015.

Heinz (US) Uses palm oil to fry potatoes for Aunt Bessie's Potatoes, which it makes under licence.

United Biscuits (UK) Uses palm oil across its range including McVitie's Digestives and McCoy's crisps. Says it is reducing quantities.

Nestle (Swiss) Palm oil in KitKat, Quality Street, Aero and other brands.

Premier Food (UK) Uses in Hovis, Mr Kipling Cakes, Bisto Gravy and Cadbury cakes (made under licence). Hopes to move to a certified sustainable supply by 2011.

Only one ray of sunshine really:

Pepsico (US) Makes Walker's crisps. Has one of the best corporate policies, only using palm oil in Quaker Oat Granola and Nobby's Nuts. Intends to phase out use on those two products.