PUTRAJAYA (Feb 7): The Ministry of Plantations and Commodities (KPK) will take stern action against any party involved in discriminatory or negative labelling of palm oil.
In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry said it takes the issue seriously and will take strict action in accordance with laws and regulations against importers, traders, sellers, and related parties who commit such offences.
"The Multi-Agency Enforcement Force (MAEF) conducted inspections at several premises in Selangor under the Trade Descriptions (Prohibition of Use of Statement, Expression or Indication) (Oil Palm Product and Palm Oil Goods) Regulations 2022 on Jan 26.
The penalty for a violation of the above regulations is a fine of up to RM220,000 or imprisonment of up to five years.
“During the inspections, it was found that some food products in these establishments were conspicuously labelled with discriminatory labelling against palm oil (DLAPO), for example with statements such as 'no palm oil' or 'without palm oil',” it said.
These shops included those selling local products such as baby food and imported food labelled DLAPO. It is important to note that some importing companies placed stickers on the investigated products labelled "Imported and distributed by".
"During the inspections, the shop managers were informed of the ban on the use of the label and asked to clear the shelves until further action is taken.
"Warnings have also been issued to the involved premises to stop selling products with discriminatory labeling against palm oil and to remove existing products from the market immediately," said the statement.
KPK said follow-up inspections will be conducted to ensure the same problems are not repeated and warnings will be issued to prevent enforcement actions by MAEF that could lead to fines and product seizures.
According to KPK, such labelling techniques give consumers the negative impression that the use of palm oil is harmful to health if the product contains palm oil.
"Apart from that, the action also damages the good reputation of palm oil industry in the country and violates the principles of fair and transparent trade," it said.