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I’m ashamed of Trader Joe’s. I’m typically a TJ fan and as a dietitian, I frequently recommend food products that they sell. But not this product.
A client recently showed me her “healthy” broccoli snack from Trader Joe’s. The packaging boasts: “A delicious way to get more vegetables in your diet”. My client had assumed that she had wisely chosen a healthy snack. But not so.
Turn over the package, read the nutrition label and you will see that the tiny 1.4 ounce package of these florets contains a whopping 15 grams of fat and 30% of the DV for an adult for the whole day…And not just any fat…palm oil, a poor choice for heart health.
And what’s more, from a health standpoint, palm oil is particularly high in saturated fat. Diets high in saturated fat can lead to elevated cholesterol level and a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Over time, this can lead to heart attack or stroke.
In addition to the nasty health implications, there are environmental concerns about how palm oil is produced. Palm oil production is responsible for significant forest destruction in the tropics and extensive carbon emissions. That’s why the Union of Concerned Scientists is calling on companies that “use major deforestation drivers such as palm oil to adopt strong deforestation-free and peat-free sourcing policies.” According to the Rainforest Action Network, Trader Joe’s does NOT have a zero-deforestation commitment for their products.
Palm oil can be produced without deforestation—and many companies have begun to make public commitments to use deforestation-free palm oil in their products. Here is a list of some of the notable ones:
So please, Trader Joe’s, join the other forward-looking companies and make a commitment to not only source palm oil that does not contribute to deforestation but to use other, more healthy fats in your products. Stopping deceptive labeling couldn’t hurt, either.