The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announces that substances found in palm oil raise a potential health concern. They identified one component of palm oil as “geotoxic and carcinogenic.” This information is critical because palm oil is the most heavily utilized vegetable oils, and many people are unaware that palm oil is used in about half of all packaged foods, personal care products and cleaning products.
In 2013, producers used 58 million metric tons of palm oil, up from 50 million in 2010. Palm oil is popular largely because oil palm is the most efficient industrial vegetable oil crop, making it the least expensive for corporations making consumer products.
In 2016, the EFSA conducted an assessment of three potential food contaminants: glycidyl fatty acid esters (GE), 3-monochloropropanediol (3-MCPD), and 2-monochloropropanediol (2-MCPD). These substances are present in many different oils and fats, although, the highest levels of GE, 3-MCPD, and 2-MCPD are found in palm oil and palm fats. They form during food processing, particularly when refining oils at high temperatures.