KUALA LUMPUR - The campaign against palm oil in Europe was built on false claims of the oil's adverse effects on health and nutrition, said the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).
Its chairman Datuk Lee Yeow Chor said that there were also false allegations of the environmental and social consequences of palm oil production.
"As Europe is a significant market for Malaysian palm oil, it is important that we safeguard our interests by addressing critics such as Green politicians and non-governmental organisations whose goal is to protect the domestic seed oil industry in Europe.
"This anti-palm oil campaign must be stopped because Europe acts as the global trendsetter on environmental and health regulations.
"This means that other developed country markets often adopt rules that are applied at the EU level," he said during his welcome address at the Palm Oil Leadership Award dinner on Monday night.
Lee highlighted MPOC's efforts against France's "Nutella Tax", which proposed a 300 per cent increase in tax on palm oil imported into France and was at first passed by the French Senate.
MPOC had actively engaged French political leaders, independent experts and the media to oppose the Nutella Tax.
"In the end, the Nutella Tax proposal was defeated at the French National Assembly and our industry passed a big test in France," said Lee, adding that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had expressed his concerns over the anti-palm oil campaign in France when French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault visited Malaysia last month.
"Before leaving Malaysia, the French Prime Minister publicly stated that his Government would no longer support any new taxes on palm oil or any discriminatory legislation against palm oil.
"This is an excellent result from the teamwork of our Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas, the ministry, MPOC and industry associations," Lee added.
At the event, former Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok was honoured with the prestigious Palm Oil Industry Leadership Award 2013 in recognition for his contributions to the industry.
The winners of the MPOC-organised Palm Portraits photography competition were also announced at the dinner. They were Teh Yong Teck (first place), Conrad Nge (second) and Lok Siew Choong (third).