The Forum first and foremost is to promote the importance of food safety and the protection of public health.

As mandated by CPOPC SOM Leaders, the Secretariat of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) organized Forum on 3-MCPD and GE in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 7 February 2020. It is attended by more than 450 participants from oil and food processing, trade, research and development of oil products, decision-makers and authorities of consumer protection and public health in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and India.

The Forum is officiated by the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, His Excellency Mr. Airlangga Hartarto, and attended by ambassadors and representatives of palm oil producing countries as well as other interested embassies and missions based in Jakarta, notably Malaysia, Colombia, Guatemala,  Thailand, Peru and Nigeria.

The Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, HE Mr. Airlangga Hartarto officiated the Forum that attended by ambassadors and representatives of palm oil producing countries

In his opening remarks, H.E. Hartarto Airlangga conveyed that the Forum is part of the endeavors to acknowledge food safety challenges by striving to meet the acceptable standards. With reference to the ongoing European Union’s proposed regulatory procedure for determining the two split maximum levels for the sum of Free 3-monochloropropanediol (3-MCPD) and 3-MCPD fatty esters, the Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs said that the regulation is a discriminatory against the usual process of contaminants risk management where if a certain level is considered ‘safe’, then it should be applied on all of oils within the same category.  The primary reason is the people as the consumers and the issue of meeting 3-MCPD safety limit is crucial to safeguard the domestic and international market.

The Forum is also aimed to provide a platform for sharing of information and lesson-learned on works currently being undertaken to mitigate the formation of 3-MCPD and GE throughout the supply chain industries. There are valuable insights on various topics of discussion on the science, regulatory aspects, research and development on 3-MCPD and GE as well as ensuring the palm oil quality.

There are six (6) papers presented by distinguished speakers from the European Union, Indonesia and Malaysia. The notable speakers are Directorate General for Health and Consumers of European Commission, Mr. Frans Verstraete, Executive Secretary of SEAFAST of Bogor Agricultural University, Dr Puspo Edi Giriwono,  Chairperson of the Sub-Committee for CPO Quality Improvement Initiative of Palm Oil Refiners Association of Malaysia (PORAM) Dr Muhammad Mohan, the Head of Analytical and Quality Development Unit at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Dr Azmil Haizam, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indo Downstream of PT. SMART Tbk, Mr. Budiono Muljono, Head of Oils & Fats, Processing Technology in the Research and Development Department of Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, Mr. Ahmadilfitri. The two sessions were chaired by the Deputy Executive Director of CPOPC, Mr. Dupito D. Simamora, and the Director of Product Development and Advisory Services Division MPOB, Ms Rosidah Radzian.

In his long-distance video presentation, Mr Frans Verstaete talked the recent development of EU food safety legislation on contaminants, with a particular focus on 3-MCPD esters and glycidyl esters. He conveyed that EU applied the principles for regulating contaminants in feed and food namely pursuing a high level of protection of human health and animal health, creating free movement within the European Union of feed and food, taking account the international standards, and keeping the contaminant level as low as reasonably be achieved (ALARA).  He pointed out that to achieve a high level of protection of human health and animal health, EU legislation shall be based on risk analysis which included risk assessment as the basis for taking risk management measures related to food safety. 

The Forum also presented a business matching meeting with successful 10 technology providers. This session showcased the most effective and cost-efficient technologies to further reduce 3-MCPD and GE levels in various stages of palm oil production from upstream, midstream and downstream. The Executive Director of GIMNI, Mr. Sahat Sinaga, moderated the segment where the participants engaged in a one-to-one session after the presentations.

There are many important issues, ideas, and suggestions raised during the three sessions. In essence, the Forum is firm to recommend the following:

a. One maximum level of 3-MCPD at 2,500 µg/kg or 2.5 ppm for all vegetable oils is the acceptable safety limit for consumption. Therefore, the one maximum limit should be adopted and there should be no differentiation be made between vegetable oils as there are no justifications from both a consumer health risk and scientific perspectives.

b. The split-level would not be consistent with the regulatory measures on GEs, where one maximum limit was established for all vegetable oils, nor be an incentive to continue investing in these mitigation measures.

c. Supporting all the introduction, development and adoption of technological and quality improvements undertaken by the supply chain industries in mitigating and meeting the one maximum level of 3-MCPD at 2,500 µg/kg or 2.5 ppm for all vegetable oils as the acceptable safety limit for consumption.

In his closing remarks, the Executive Director of CPOPC, Tan Sri Dr. Yusof Basiron thanked to all participants, chairpersons, speakers as well as the technology providers. He welcomed the recommendations and conveyed that CPOPC shall support platforms that involve experts and technology providers in reducing 3-MCPDs and GEs in palm oil.  CPOPC would consistently resound the objections of proposals that discriminated against the palm oil as well as unfair market policies.

The Secretariat of CPOPC intends to conduct a series of similar forum aiming to inform, engage and prepare the palm oil industries to meet the standards of food safety and the protection of public health. The Secretariat conveys its sincere thanks to all stakeholders for their support for the Forum. To get the presentations of speakers and panelists, please click http://bit.ly/2OK05rF

The Executive Director of CPOPC Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron (left) handed token of appreciation to the representatives of technology providers