Jakarta supermarkets told to remove palm oil-free products hinh anh 1Palm fruits harvested at a farm in Medan city, Indonesia (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producer, has asked some retailers in Jakarta to remove food products with “palm oil-free” labels from their shops, as the country is seeking to protect its key export.

Ojak Simon Manurung, director of goods and services circulation supervision at Indonesia’s Trade Ministry, said the ministry had conducted inspections at over dozen supermarkets in Jakarta in the past few days, with goods carrying “palm oil-free” labels on their packaging, mostly locally-made foods and snacks removed from display.

The inspections were carried out after the country’s Drug and Food Control Agency (BPOM) said “palm oil-free” labeling does not meet its criteria, he added.

In its announcement on August 21, the BPOM said it will not approve for distribution products with “palm oil-free” labels, affirming palm oil is safe and the labels are reducing palm oil’s competitiveness.

Palm oil is under scrutiny over environmental concerns, including those from the European Union. The European Commission (EC) said earlier this year that palm oil should be phased out from transport fuel in the bloc after the commission concluded that it causes deforestation.

Last week, the EC also imposed countervailing duties of 8 percent to 18 percent on imports of palm based biodiesel from Indonesia.-VNA