The Guide > Food & Drink > Baking & Cooking > Cooking Oil
Cooking Oil
Currently the only genetically engineered (GE) food crops commercially produced in Australia are cotton and canola. Both these can be labelled under 'vegetable oil' without any indication that they are GE. Processed food commonly contains GE ingredients, mainly through imported corn, soy and cottonseed oil.

GE crops pose a very real threat to our food because, as living organisms, they can reproduce and spread and so once released they cannot be recalled. Their effects are irreversible.

Concerns over genetically engineered food include unknown health risks, threats to biodiversity, contamination of conventional and organic crops, increase in pesticide and herbicide use, and control over our food by multinational chemical companies who legally own the patents on the technology.
  • Look for foods labelled 'GM free', 'GMO free', 'GE-free', 'Not genetically modified', certified 'Organic' & 'Bio-dynamic'.
  • Check the 'GM-Free Shopping List' for all brands guaranteed GM-free by their manufacturer (assurance they are not using GM ingredients anywhere in the food chain, including animal feed). GM-Free Australia Alliance
  • Have your say and oppose GE food crops in Australia. MADGE
  • Look for items labelled 'Product of Australia' (except food containing canola or cottonseed oil).
Palm oil is found in roughly 50 per cent of all packaged products on supermarket shelves including shampoos, baking oil, chocolate, cosmetics, chips, cookies, margarine and soaps.

Unfortunately, not only does palm oil promote heart disease, but the vast plantations that grow oil palm trees have contributed to the destruction of the rainforest of South East Asia and threaten the survival of animals such as the Orangutan in Borneo, the Sumatran tiger, and Asian rhinoceros. Additionally, burning after deforestation accounts for significant greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this, it has recently been deemed a potential saviour as a renewable resource for use as a biofuel.
  • Palm oil may be in a product but labelled simply as 'vegetable oil'. An indicator however is if the nutritional panel lists saturated fat and it's higher than 50%, and yet there no animal fat listed as an ingredient, there is likely to be palm kernel oil, palm oil or coconut oil, as a component of 'vegetable oil' (most likely to be palm). See the various names for palm oil Palm Oil Investigations
  • For a list of branded products that do not contain palm oil, see the 'Helping you buy responsibly' section on the Borneo Orangutan Survival website. Borneo Orangutan Survival
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