Tainted palm oil blocked by cautious buyers(Reuters, Feb,12/2021 & Freedom United)

U.S. action against palm oil tainted with forced labor has triggered a number of palm oil buyers to block Malaysian palm oil companies, FGV Holdings and Sime Darby Plantations, from their supply chains.The U.S. ban on palm oil imports from FGV and Sime Darby, officially known as a withhold release order (WRO), was issued in response to a Tariff Act complaint filed over a year ago against FGV by Global Labor Justice – International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ – ILRF), Rainforest Action Network, and SumofUs.Freedom United also launched a global campaign to bring attention to the problem with over 127,000 supporters successfully calling on U.S. Customs and Border Protection to issue a WRO on shipments of FGV palm oil entering the U.S. U.S. food company, General Mills, has now issued a global “no buy order” for both FGV and Sime Darby. According to Reuters, buyers have also requested their suppliers to cut ties with FGV and Sime Darby.Companies such as Hershey, Nestlé and Unilever had suspended FGV from their supply chains in 2018 due to their alleged use of forced labor, however, these companies still have links to Sime Darby.