“Do not derogate from our right to information!” In a petition published on Friday, April 1, the Foodwatch Association alerts consumers: Sunflower oil must be replaced with other oils in many products without informing customers. “Biscuits, baby jars, eggs, chips… We found out that the recipes of many foods would change due to supply problems due to the war in Ukraine. (…) The danger? That you don’t know about these changes in recipes, the information is almost invisible at the time. the purchase “.
In fact, Russia and Ukraine account for “80% of global production of sunflower oil,” explains Parisian Fabien Razak, Marketing Director of Lesieur, the leading French oil company. Consequently, many manufacturers will turn to other oils, such as rapeseed, soybean or palm, to replace sunflower in their products sold in supermarkets. Except that the consumer may not even know it. “It has been requested that European label regulations for thousands of products not be adhered to so you don’t have to indicate the change in the recipe,” warns Camille Dorios, a spokeswoman for Foodwatch, who was interviewed by the daily.
Complete and instant transparency
Changing the oil is not a problem in itself, rather, Fabian Rzak encourages professionals to turn to other fats because the duration of the war in Ukraine is uncertain. The Foodwatch Association understands the “need for flexibility to avoid production disruptions.” But it does require that “manufacturers and distributors are obligated to clearly communicate each product to us on the shelves and online of each product transparently and without delay.”
In addition to the right to information, this transparency is necessary for several reasons, according to Camille Dorios. First, it is important for “allergic people”. Next, the association’s spokesperson fears the hidden use of palm oil, which has been much criticized for the deforestation it can cause, in products that show otherwise in normal times. If “products on the shelves haven’t changed the oil yet” in France right now, that may soon be the case, according to Camille Dorios. Especially since “we have doubts about products that cross the border.”
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