Malaysiakini NEWS

Putrajaya wants retraction of WHO bulletin's 'unscholarly' article on palm oil

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Putrajaya has demanded that WHO retract its bulletin article which drew parallels between the palm oil industry and tobacco and alcohol consumption lobbyists.

"This outrageous claim casts aspersions on the reputation of our scientists and researchers while ignoring findings on the nutritional value of palm oil published in numerous peer-reviewed scientific journals.

"We view the article as one of half-truths, unscholarly, flawed and utterly biased against palm oil with the suspected intention of demonising the palm oil industry," said the Primary Industries Ministry in a statement today.

The demand was made during a meeting with the WHO representative to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore Dr Lo Ying-Ru. The Malaysian delegation comprised Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, ministry officials and palm oil industry representatives.

The WHO bulletin did not heed Malaysia's protest over the article which has been reported by Reuters. Reuters had erroneously attributed the subject of the article to a "WHO study". Reuters has since amended the article.

The ministry said that although Lo had explained that the article was not a study nor a policy or dietary recommendation by WHO, the reputation of the palm oil industry had been damaged by the Reuters article.

"The damage has been done as Reuters' erroneous interpretation has gained large traction and continues to be published on other news sites as well," said the ministry.

The ministry said it will be penning a letter to the editor of the WHO bulletin to criticise the article.

"We hope WHO continues to advocate its policies and recommendations based purely on unbiased science and does not allow a repeat of this type of incident.

"Minister Kok and the WHO representatives concluded that it would be desirable to hold a joint technical seminar in the region to help correct many of the misinformation surrounding oils and fats especially palm oil," added the ministry.

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