Used in food production: No prohibition against Palm Stearin imports
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has decided to ban the import of palm oil with immediate effect, as the consumption of crude palm oil has adverse effects on public health.
Experts in the medical field and dieticians have repeatedly pointed out that the consumption of food processed using crude palm oil is a major pathogen, the President’s Media Division said.
The release said, however, standard palm oil varieties are used in the production of biscuits, confectioneries, and some bakery products. The variant bearing harmonised system code 1511.90.10 is an example. It is commonly known as Palm Stearin. There is no prohibition against importing this variety for use in the production of food items.
After the Government came to power, the importation of Ethanol, which had been severely criticised, was halted. But Ethanol is allowed to be imported for surgical purposes. The same goes for the permission to import Palm Stearin.
Research has shown that oil palm cultivation can lead to long-term adverse environmental effects, such as depletion of water resources and soil infertility. Therefore, about six months ago, the President instructed to stop the cultivation of oil palm trees. The existing oil palm cultivation is planned to be phased out at a rate of 10 per cent at a time and those lands are planned to be replaced with rubber or other eco-friendly cultivations.