Thank you Leila and Annie for your comments. Annie, I wanted to share this oil comparison chart – it’s a great resource if you’re trying to better understand the relative health and environmental costs of edible oils: https://eatingrules.com/Cooking-Oil-Comparison-Chart_02-22-12.pdf
. As you can see, palm oil and palm kernel oil rank terribly due to environmental concern and harm to human health.
As I explain above, red palm oil is purportedly healthier than most conventional palm oil as it’s raw/unrefined/unbleached, however if you’re eating for the specific micronutrients it boasts (Vitamin A & E) you’re better off eating veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds due to the saturated fat content (not to mention the environmental impact associated with the majority of palm oil on the market).
In terms of sourcing, I agree that organic, fair trade and small family farmed commodities are usually quite different from those produced by the industrial agribusiness complex. But due to the lack of supply chain and company transparency, it’s very difficult in today’s market to know for sure where your palm oil comes from, as exemplified by Trader Joe’s. Many Malaysian companies, for example, market their red palm oil as “healthy” and “eco friendly” when in fact it’s nothing more than less refined Conflict Palm Oil which is driving deforestation, human rights abuses and climate change.