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Melbourne Zoo

Cadbury chocolate products gone from our shelves

26 February 2019

Zoos Victoria will no longer sell any Cadbury chocolate or Natural Confectionery Company lollies at its three properties, and is asking consumers to also take a stand for the wildlife under threat from manufacturers that refuse to come clean on the origins of the palm oil in their products. 

The crackdown follows an audit of all food products sold at Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary to ensure their parent companies are using, or committed to sourcing, only the highest standard of wildlife-friendly sustainable palm oil within the next four years.

All of the product suppliers, including Cadbury’s and Natural Confectionery’s parent company Mondelez, were given time to comply with the sourcing standards of Zoos Victoria’s Palm Oil Policy. Those that haven’t complied are now off the shelves.

Zoos Victoria is encouraging the public to join them on social media in asking their favourite brands about the “vegetable oil” listed on their products in order to highlight the confusion caused by disguising palm oil behind other ingredient names.

Zoos Victoria CEO, Dr Jenny Gray, expects a groundswell of public support for the organisation’s new social media campaign #LabelPalmOilAlready, particularly with Easter approaching.

“Consumer research shows that 95 per cent of Australians want clear mandatory labelling of palm oil, so they can make an informed decision on what they consume,” said Dr Gray. “Whether that’s chocolate Easter eggs or hot cross buns, it’s pretty simple: we all just want to know what is in the products we consume and how the use of these ingredients affects the habitat of the precious wildlife we care about.” 

The rapid expansion of palm oil production is associated with the destruction of habitat for some of the world’s most vulnerable species, including orang-tans, tigers, elephants and gibbons.

Dr Gray said there was still so much confusion about sustainable and unsustainable palm oil, which could be resolved through mandatory labelling of product ingredients, including the removal of the catch-all “vegetable oil”.

Australia is out of step with other world leaders on this issue. The 500 million consumers of the European Union know what is in their food; Canadian law states that palm oil cannot be disguised as vegetable oil; and USA food regulations make the labelling of palm oil mandatory.
“We believe that Australians have the same right to know what is in the products they are consuming,” Dr Gray said. “The Victorian Government supported mandatory labelling as a priority back in 2016, and yet we are still waiting for the Australian Government and other states to make the change. The wildlife under threat from deforestation for palm oil plantations can’t wait any longer.”

Zoos Victoria Community Campaigns Senior Manager, Ben Sanders, said the zoo had worked hard to help suppliers commit to using only Segregated Certified Sustainable Palm Oil by 2023.

“There are a host of companies, including many that are as large as Cadbury’s parent company Mondelez, who are already completely sourcing Segregated CSPO – the most rigorous and sustainable form of palm oil, or are on track to be doing so by 2023,” Mr Sanders said.

“Zoos Victoria understands that a ban on palm oil in not a feasible solution as that would likely drive a market for other edible oils that require more land to produce, threatening wildlife in other ways. That’s why all Zoos Victoria suppliers that use palm oil anywhere in their business must, as a minimum, have a commitment to source 100% Segregated Certified Sustainable Palm Oil and be a member of the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) - an independent, global auditor of the chain of palm oil production.

“Segregated Certified Sustainable Palm Oil is grown to standards that don’t contribute to environmental destruction and is kept separate to any other palm oil, ensuring that traceability can be guaranteed. Any product now sold at Zoos Victoria that contain palm oil contain only Segregated CSPO.

“Sustainable palm oil plantations are harvested without infringing on wildlife habitat. Unsustainable palm oil plantations are responsible for the rapid loss of biodiversity that follows the destruction of forest homes to unique creatures, such as orang-tans, tigers, elephants and gibbons.

“At Zoos Victoria, we know that our 2.5million annual visitors love wildlife and they have been extremely supportive of our Don’t Palm Us Off campaign for the past nine years. We hope they will now add their voices to say #LabelPalmOilAlready.” 

For more information about the #LabelPalmOilAlready campaign, visit