There’s Nothing Romantic About These Valentine’s Day Candies

This Valentine’s Day, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is urging us all to find a better way to show our love than with store-bought candies that contain palm oil. Activists will be placing stickers that say “There’s nothing romantic about #ConflictPalmOil” on Valentine’s candies at stores in 250 U.S. cities to raise awareness about how palm oil production is hurting us, animals and the environment.

The message is part of the organization’s campaign urging major food companies and some of the biggest chocolate brands — including Hershey’s, Mars, Nestle and Mondelez (formerly Kraft) — to stop using what has been dubbed Conflict Palm Oil. The ultimate goal here is to get companies to go above and beyond the questionable certification scheme set up under the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which is supposed to ensure that palm oil is sustainably produced, but doesn’t.

“None of America’s big chocolate companies can verifiably ensure that their candies and chocolates do not contain palm oil connected to child labor, land grabs and rainforest destruction,” said Gemma Tillack, senior agribusiness campaigner for RAN, in a statement. “We’re putting Hershey’s on notice that it’s time to kiss Conflict Palm Oil good-bye.”

Unfortunately, palm oil is found in a multitude of products found on our store shelves and its use continues to grow. According to RAN, approximately 85 percent of palm oil is grown in the tropical countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea on industrial plantations. The continued production of palm oil in these countries is having severe impacts on wildlife, the environment and local communities.

Palm oil production destroys critical habitat for endangered orangutans and other species — including Sumatran tigers and elephants, Malayan sun bears and rhinos — threatens water supplies, and makes communities more vulnerable to natural disasters, in addition to perpetuating child labor and forced labor. The continued cutting, burning and draining of rainforests and peatlands also hugely contributes to carbon pollution.

Hopefully, letting big companies know that continuing to use Conflict Palm Oil is unacceptable will get them to change their policies and create supply chains that are transparent and traceable and don’t involve further destruction of critical rainforests and peatlands. Quite a few of the companies that make holiday candy aren’t sourcing traceable palm oil and have no time table set up to start doing so.

If you want to skip out on palm oil entirely this year, there’s a a free app created by the El Paso Zoo called the Palm Oil Guide and Scanner that lets you scan barcodes to find out if palm oil is in a product, in addition to helping find alternatives.

For more information about the trouble with palm oil and how to help, visit

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 months ago

thanks for the article.

donald Baumgartner

Happy Valentines day 2015 !!!!

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

I always check the labels for soybean or corn. Unless it says non GMO, its GMO

Tammy D.
Tammy D2 years ago

what is amazing to me is that any 'chocolate' has palm oil to begin with. Chocolate should only contain cocoa butter, not butter, not palm, not any other fat. I would say customers need to stop buying such inferior chocolate. Eat better chocolate less often. Second, ask these stupid companies to stop using palm. 'Conflict free' palm is not enough. There is NO CONFLICT FREE PALM!!! We all need to check ingredients and put things back on the shelf. That is the only way things change. Check your chips! If it doesn't say what kind of vegetable oil, or if there is saturated fat in the nutrition chart, I put it back. Better choices for your body are better choices for the planet.

Franck R.
Frank R2 years ago


Ellie K.
Ellie K2 years ago


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Michael A.
Michael A2 years ago