Remarks by The Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs, Republic of Indonesia

Delivered by H.E. Airlangga Hartarto, the Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, at the Official Opening of Forum on 3-MCPD and GE, 7 February 2020, Jakarta, Indonesia

Your Excellencies Ambassadors and Representatives of Palm Oil Producing Countries

Distinguished Speakers, Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen

A very good morning to all of you. It is an honor for me to be here to officiate the Forum on 3-MCPD and GE as the first international event on 3-MCPD and GE in Jakarta.

At the outset, allow me to express utmost appreciation to the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) for organizing this Forum and to all national palm oil stakeholders and the sponsors who have supported this important event.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • Palm oil is an edible product that plays a significant role in the world’s consumption of food products.
  • As an ingredient, palm oil has become difficult to avoid almost everywhere. It is in all manner of supermarket food items: from biscuits, chocolate, ice cream, bread, to baked goods. And, the demand for palm oil for food continues to rise worldwide, outstripping other vegetable oils.
  • What does it mean? It clearly indicates that palm oil has characteristics which are not ready replaceable.   
  • Thanks to the given-circumstance, Indonesia, and other major producers, will continuously gain benefits as nearly 80% of palm oil we produce goes to food manufacturing.   

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • In parallel with this rising demand, there is a need for ensuring food safety in the palm oil industry. Consumers today are more cognizant of the importance of food safety with regard to food intake. Increasingly, they need to ensure that their food is free from any contamination and is healthy to consume.
  • We, as responsible producing countries, acknowledge these food safety challenges. Efforts to meet acceptable standards have been striven. Today’s Forum on 3-MCPD and GE is part of the endeavours. 
  • Various proven technologies to mitigate the formation of 3-MCPDs have been fabricated. Various mitigation strategies and recommended practices have been much presented.
  • All we need is to disseminate it to the industry and make it a norm. This must be a high priority for us all.     

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • Why the mitigation of 3-MCPD is now of paramount importance? On the issue of food safety, the global market has evidently started to raise the bar.
  • We are aware that the EU is proposing a regulation to set maximum limits of 3-MCPD of 2,500 µg/kg for palm oil to be used as food ingredients. Once approved, the regulation shall enter into force from January 2021.
  • Part of the reason is because the EU remains a major export destination of palm oil. Approximately around 6 million tonnes of tropical fats are refined across Europe, with 90% refined in the EU.
  • Without question, we oppose the EU’s proposal to set another limit of 1,250 µg/kg for soft oils and local vegetable oils produced in EU. This is discriminatory. Consumers will be misled to perceive palm oil as bad compared to the other vegetable oils having lower limit.
  • CPOPC is of the view that one maximum level at 2,500 µg/kg for all vegetable oils should be adopted as the acceptable safety limit for consumption.
  • We strongly voice this position to the EU, as there is a plan for EU to make a decision on the proposal of two split maximum levels of 3-MCPD today in Brussels.    
  • Besides export concern, the issue of meeting 3-MCPD safety limit is even of crucial to safeguard the domestic market. Our people is our first and foremost concern.      

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • The 3-MCPD has been another crucible for palm oil industry. Palm oil has been vilifed as vegetable oil of deforestation. We know that is wrong and misleading.
  • Therefore we should not allow palm oil to be linked to health risks.
  • In that connection, allow me to share some perspectives on collective efforts to be deliberated in this Forum:
  • Sharing of information and lesson-learned on works currently being undertaken to mitigate the formation of 3-MCPDE/GE throughout the supply chain of the industries.
  • Exchange of research outputs and propose collaborative works to further research projects in understanding the fundamental mechanics of the formation of these contaminants.
  • Identifying and promoting the most cost-efficient technologies to further reduce 3-MCPDE/GE levels in various stages of palm oil production from upstream, midstream and downstream.
  • Proposing a common revised CPO specification to properly address the mitigation efforts and to further improve the quality specifications of edible oils.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • Before concluding, allow me to bring to mind that trade barriers, including negative campaigns, have been increasingly imposed on palm oil by some countries. We need to be united in addressing these challenges.
  • Everybody in all level should and can take part in collective efforts. We must altogether enhance quality of our CPO and refined products as food safety issue imposes a zero tolerance.    
  • Do your best at your capacity: as an industry player, researcher, or government. Let us serve our common interests.

Thank you for your attention.