I was offered a hot cross bun recently; feeling peckish, I turned to the ingredients list and promptly lost my appetite. The ingredients were as follows:
Wheat Flour, Mixed Fruit (24%) (Sultanas, Raisins, Currants), Water, Invert Sugar Syrup, Palm Oil, Yeast, Mixed Peel (2%) (Orange Peel, Lemon Peel), Emulsifiers (Mono- and Di-Glycerides of Fatty Acids, Sodium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate, Mono- and Di-Acetyltartaric Esters of Mono- and Di-Glycerides of Fatty Acids), Rapeseed Oil, Salt, Mixed Spice, Maize Starch, Flavouring, Glucose Syrup, Wheat Gluten, Flour Treatment Agent (Ascorbic Acid).
Shocking isn’t it. I am personally revolted by this list of ingredients and feel that many of the additives used in the manufacturing process exacerbate wheat intolerance. Most people accept that cheap mass-produced baked goods need emulsifiers, dough strengtheners and flour treatment agents, however, I’m willing to bet that, when you last tucked into a hot cross bun, it didn’t occur to you that you might be inadvertently condoning the destruction of the rain forest, and therefore the demise of the orang-utan.
It is the use of palm oil in the ingredients that is directly responsible for the demise of the orangutan. It is the palm oil industry that is responsible for clear-cutting of forests and forest fires. Clearing the rainforest destroys the home of thousands of birds, insects, plants, trees and small animals, and creates clear access for orangutan hunters and traders – a major factor in the dramatic reduction of orangutan populations.
Orangutans live in family groups in areas that are favoured for establishing oil palm plantations: fertile lowland soils close to rivers, and the orangutans’ rainforest habitat is still being converted into oil palm plantations on a massive scale. Global demand for palm oil is driving the development of more plantations.
Whilst many companies are claiming that they are using fully traceable palm oil from sustainable sources I for one am not convinced that being able to trace palm oil back to where there was once rainforest makes any difference whatsoever.
Be a food activist.
There are several ways you can make a difference.
- Buy your hot cross buns from your local artisan baker.
- Make sure that, if you do buy your hot cross buns from a supermarket, you check the ingredients list.
- Write to your supermarket and request that they stop using palm oil altogether.
- Make your own hot cross buns – click here for an easy hot cross bun recipe.