Organic Spa Blog

Halloween Candy That Can Really Make You Sick

Photo courtesy of, public domain

This Halloween, keep an eye on your candy. Palm oil, an ingredient found in many of your favorite sweets, and often associated with safe and organic foods, has been targeted by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) as being heavily linked to child labor, modern-day slavery, and as one of the largest causes of tropical deforestation and orangutan extinction. These tragedies serve as yet another combined example of the devastating link between hidden social and environmental abuses. This time around, though, you can do something about them.

Sign this petition that tells the “Snack Food 20” to remove what is getting termed “Conflict Palm Oil” from their products.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) listed palm oil plantations as the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia since 2007. (Why haven’t we heard about this? No comment, but a number of “Snack Food 20” companies—including Kellogg, PepsiCo, Nestle S.A. and more [see below]—are also members of the RSPO, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.)

The complete list of “Snack Food 20,” as follows:

  1. Campbell Soup Company
  2. ConAgra Foods, Inc.
  3. Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc.
  4. General Mills, Inc.
  5. Grupo Bimbo
  6. Hillshire Brands Company
  7. H.J. Heinz Company
  8. Hormel Foods Corporation
  9. Kellogg Company
  10. Kraft Food Group, Inc.
  11. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Corp.
  12. Mars Inc.
  13. Mondelez International, Inc.
  14. Nestle. S.A.
  15. Nissin Foods Holdings Co., Ltd.
  16. PepsiCo, Inc.
  17. The Hershey Company
  18. The J.M. Smucker Company
  19. Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.
  20. Unilever

In an attempt to garner significant attention, the RAN released a two-minute video that follows the sign language conversation between an orphaned orangutan and a little girl. In it, Tangerine the orangutan explains that snack food companies are destroying her home. The commercial then goes on to advocate the use of customer power for change; and it is responsible for tens of thousands of letters and phone calls from disgruntled shoppers, protesting the Snack Food 20’s use of palm oil in their products.

After reviewing the Snack Food 20 list, it may seem like there are hardly any options left for purchasing Halloween candy, but if you want to avoid palm oil, take a look at El Paso Zoo’s comprehensive list of candies that do and do not contain palm oil here. Alternatively, download the Palm Oil Guide & Scanner app, which—just by scanning a barcode with your phone—can tell you which treats to stay away from. Stick to these resources for more treats than tricks this Halloween, and let’s emphasize the products that Executive Director of RAN, Lindsey Allen, says “reflect the values of their customers and the needs of our planet.”

Up-to-date information about this crisis can be found at

Connect with Piper @PiperStullLane


Tags: , ,