Is Trader Joe’s non-dairy, mochi truly vegan or is it just plant-based?
While that may sound like a distinction without a difference to most people, to vegans it’s a very important distinction that carries serious consequences for all living beings and the health of the planet.
Well, although Trader Joe’s mochi desserts contain no animal products, they do contain an ingredient that is considered harmful to animals and humans – palm oil.
Therefore, a hard-core vegan would not want to consume products containing palm oil.
What Is Palm Oil And Why Is It Not Vegan?
Palm oil has become synonymous with rainforest destruction, orangutan extinction, and human exploitation due to the cruelty involved in its production. And, because manufacturers are now using this oil to replace the rightfully vilified trans fats in most snack foods found in the United States, the negative impact of “conflict palm oil” is increasing rapidly.
According to the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), increased demand for palm oil is responsible for the following:
- Child labor
- Modern day slavery
- The forced removal of indigenous people and rural communities from their homes and land
- Rainforest destruction
- Near extinction of Sumatran Rhinos
- Near extinction of Sumatran Elephants
- Near extinction of Sumatran and Bornean orangutans
- Increased climate change
How To Avoid Palm Oil
If you’re concerned about the issues above then please share this article, and purchasing only those products without palm oil or its derivatives in the ingredient list.
Below, you’ll find a list of plam oil ingredients provided by RAN. As you’ll notice, some ingredients do not explicitly contain the words “palm oil” so it’s best to take the list with you when grocery shopping. The easiest way to ensure you’ll always have it handy is to type the list into a note on your smart phone, because we would never be caught dead or alive without our cell phones 😉:
- Vegetable Oils (Palm or Palm Kernal)
- Palm Kernel Oil
- Palm Kernel Stearin
- Palm Kernel Olein
- Sodium Laureth Sulphate
- Partially Hydrogenated Palm Oil
- Fractionated Palm Oil
- Organic Palm Kernel Oil
- Palmitate – Vitamin A or Asorbyl Palmate/Palm Oil
- Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
The RSPO Label And Sustainable Palm Oil
But what about the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) label or products labeled as “sustainably-sourced”? Does this mean that it’s a safe product to purchase?
According to RAN, the answer is no. The RSPO and other companies have failed to enforce standards which prevent the deforestation which leads to animal extinction and climate change, or rules which would prevent human rights violations. For this reason, RAN created the Palm Oil Innovation Group which hopes to establish set guidelines for how palm oil manufacturers are allowed to extract and produce their products.
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