World-famous cake mix Betty Crocker linked to rainforest destruction
Jakarta.- Betty Crocker, a leading instant cake and bakingmix brand owned by US based food company General Mills, is sourcing palm oilfrom a company responsible for the destruction of rainforest and orangutanhabitat in Indonesia.
General Mills is one of the biggest food manufacturers inthe world. It owns Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Yoplait and many American-stylecereal brands including Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Golden Grahams and Lucky Charms.
One of General Mills’s palm oil suppliers is IOI, anotorious company with plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. Greenpeace firstexposed IOI’s destruction of forests and orangutan habitat in the 2008 reportBurning up Borneo. Since then, IOI has been accused of various scandals,including land grabbing, bad labour practices, forest fires and deforestation.
Greenpeace Indonesia is calling for General Mills to followthe example of other major brands and cancel their contracts with IOI.
“When you’re baking, you really care about what goes intoyour cakes. Forest destruction isn’t a popular ingredient, so why is GeneralMills spoiling Betty Crocker’s cakes with palm oil from rainforest destroyersIOI?,” said Annisa Rahmawati, forests campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia.
After the forest fires crisis in 2015, Indonesia’s palm oilindustry has been under growing pressure to end destruction of rainforests andpeatlands. In November, the Indonesian government sanctioned IOI following amajor outbreak of fire in one of its concessions in West Kalimantan.
In April 2016, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, anindustry body tasked with making palm oil production sustainable, suspended IOIfor deforestation. Instead of making sweeping changes, IOI responded with acourt case against the RSPO in Geneva.
Following its suspension, major brands such as Unilever,Nestle, Mars, Mondelez (Cadbury), Kellogg and Colgate-Palmolive all severedtheir ties with IOI. In a statement, General Mills said that it was ‘committedto sustainably sourcing palm oil’ but continues to buy from IOI.
“Companies know that their customers want to enjoy bakingcupcakes without burning rainforests. That’s why so many other major brandshave done the right thing and stopped buying palm oil from IOI. General Mills’sfailure to act leaves a bad taste in the mouth,” said Annisa.