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About Products Without Palm Oil

About Products Without Palm Oil

Thank you for your interest in finding palm oil free alternatives. I hope to inform you of the hundreds of ways palm oil hides in everyday products and offer palm oil free options.

As palm oil is added to more products, it’s gaining more awareness for the environmental concerns with deforestation. In addition, some people find they have reactions to palm oil. I consider my son to have a palm oil allergy and palm oil intolerance and sensitivity. He gets very sick from palm oil.

I started this website when I couldn’t find any information about people having reactions to palm oil. I knew for sure palm oil was the reason my son was almost always sick. The night we figured out it was palm oil, I was in tears and frustrated how so many products contained palm oil. (And that was before I knew all the other names for palm oil.) How would my son avoid all of these foods?

When I looked online for information, “supposed health experts” said people couldn’t be allergic to palm oil. No one was talking about people getting sick from it.

I thought, “I need to tell people about this.” Whether it’s an allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance, there was no way my son could be the only one affected by palm oil. I wanted to give positive attention to companies who weren’t using it and to inform people how many companies were.

With environmental and allergy concerns, I want to show people how easy it is to make simple changes such as:

  • Reading ingredient labels before buying
    • Foods
    • Drinks
    • Personal care products
    • Cleaning products
  • Buying more “real” ingredients
  • Eating less processed foods
  • Cooking and baking from scratch

Here you will find information about me, more about why I started this site, and how I can hopefully help you.

Dawn Head

About Me

My name is Dawn, and I’m a parent dedicated to finding products without palm oil and palm oil derivatives. My family and I are learning everything we can to live palm oil free.

In 2017, we learned that palm oil ingredients make our son sick. We consider him to have a palm oil allergy. His doctors, including several allergists, never heard of something like this. We couldn’t find anything online about it. 

As I tracked foods he could eat, I was stunned to see how many products listed “palm oil” in the ingredients.

But even when I avoided buying products with palm oil and palm kernel oil, he was still getting sick.

I didn’t know why until I learned that hundreds of ingredients are derived from palm oil. They don’t say “palm oil” on the label but still contain it.

An example is a cereal he ate with Tocopherols. Another was with Mono- & Diglycerides in ice cream. He became very sick from both of these foods. I later learned these ingredients were derived from palm oil. 

I logged everything he ate, kept notebooks of my research, saved all packages, contacted companies, and introduced new foods slowly.

When he still had some reactions, I looked at the self-care products he was using. I was shocked at how common palm oil ingredients are in shampoo, liquid and bar soaps, moisturizers and lotion, lip balm, sunscreen, and more. For months he had mouth sores from palm oil ingredients in toothpaste

I mad and upset. Unless we were completely diligent, our son would get really sick. I didn’t think consumers knew how palm oil was in so many products.

Starting this website made me feel like I were “doing something” about it.

Ban on artificial trans fats

I was acquiring so much knowledge from our experience of the ways companies hid palm oil.

This was in 2018, during the time the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned companies from adding artificial trans fats to prepared and processed foods. 

Companies had been using artificial trans fats because they were inexpensive. They needed to find a replacement so they turned to palm oil. Palm oil is also inexpensive and became a “good” alternative.

This is why palm oil is in so many foods now. Palm oil replaced artificial trans fats in foods such as peanut butter, margarine, and frozen desserts. Then companies learned additional ways to use it in their products.  

Sick from palm oil

I didn’t think my son could be the only one who had reactions and health issues from palm oil. Maybe this information could help other people who experience symptoms from palm oil.

Environmental concerns

I also learned palm oil is controversial. There are problems with palm oil. Many people avoid palm oil for environmental reasons. Because palm oil is cheap and versatile, companies use it. As demand increases, more and more rainforests are destroyed to clear the way for more palm oil plantations.

This displaces people as well as animals, including orangutans, tigers, and many more. Deforestation is a global issue.

Find palm oil free products

We’ve been avoiding palm oil for over seven years. In working to find foods and self-care products our son can use, we continue to learn the:

We work hard to find products he can have safely. Many products that once didn’t contain palm ingredients, now do.

It’s a lot better to focus on what you CAN have versus what you can’t, so I decided to start this website to help others do this as well.

Our Mission

This website focuses on finding palm oil free products, including foods, cleaners, and personal care products for dietary, health, and environmental reasons. I want to show readers there are options and that it’s possible to find palm oil free products.

One of my goals is to highlight and promote products that have taken steps to certify their products palm oil free. Two non-profit organizations certify products palm oil free. They are:

  • International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark (POFCAP) 
  • Orangutan Alliance

When companies submit a product to earn certification, these organizations guarantee each ingredient, including the source, is free from palm oil. Please support products and companies who took the steps to certify “palm oil free” and have the certification labeling to prove it.

I also include products I believe to be made without palm oil so readers have more choices. I have determined these by using years of experience navigating this for my household. Over the years, I have learned how companies make products, what ingredients do in products, and the ways manufacturers use palm oil. I research ingredients, reach out to companies when we need clarification, and more. Please note, these are not guaranteed.

Again, unless a produced is certified palm oil free, it may still contain palm oil. Also, companies change ingredients and manufacturers.

Sometimes, there is a supply chain issue and a company cannot source a palm oil free alternative. An example of this is in Brassica alcohol to make shampoos. One company owner/founder I interviewed (Jo from Viva La Body) stopped making their popular palm oil free shampoos and other products because they couldn’t source Brassica alcohol palm oil free anymore. 

Another goal is to encourage consumers to buy more real, whole foods. Palm oil is common in processed and packaged foods. Fruits and vegetables are palm oil free. If permitted in your diet, nuts, seeds, meats, seafood, and eggs are also palm oil free choices. By cooking healthy meals at home and eating out less, we avoid palm oil.

I also want to educate about the palm oil that’s used in other products, such soap, shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream, lotions, soaps, cosmetics, cleaning products, laundry detergent, pet products and baby products, and more.

Another goal is to explain ways people can use less palm oil and offer tips for living without palm oil.

To help consumers

In our quest to go palm oil free, I decided to compile our research to make it easier for everyone to find and support palm oil free products and other options.

I hope that by highlighting palm oil derivatives common in products, I can help consumers choose the palm oil free option.

Also, when you are avoiding palm oil for environmental reasons or health reasons, it’s a challenge to find palm free products. I want to make it easier for everyone to find them.

To thank companies for making palm oil free products

I am using this website as a platform to reach out to companies to thank them for making their products without palm oil and to encourage them to make more products without it.

A big focus is to support Palm Oil Free labeling and to highlight products who have earned Palm Oil Free certification. 

I am starting to write individual posts to showcase companies who certified their products palm oil free. Check out my interviews with the owners/founders of:

For products my son safely uses and eats that aren’t certified, we emailed each company to inquire about their products that seem to be made without palm oil, and we always try to get “higher up” than the customer service reps.

And because we are bloggers, we often get to reach more influential people working in the company. Depending on the size of the company, often we can interact with the decision-makers, instead of customer service reps who are working to placate us consumers.

We want these decision-makers to know the palm oil issue is important, and that people are paying attention and making a difference with their buying dollars. 

However, please know, these palm oil free lists are not guaranteed unless the products are certified Palm Oil Free by Orangutan Alliance or through the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark.

To let companies know that people are paying attention

It is my hope that writing about palm oil and having a community of people who comment on the posts and interact on social media will help to let companies know that consumers are paying attention.

Educating companies

Additionally, several times I educated employees at companies I contacted — even the managers, etc. — about palm oil derivatives in their products.

Many times, reps were quick to say a product didn’t contain palm oil or palm oil derivatives.

When I pressed further about certain ingredients, asking them to verify the source — such as the Glycerin, Cocogluoside, Glyceryl Caprylate, Citric Acid, Magnesium Stearate, etc. they use — oftentimes they checked with their product development team or suppliers and would apologize saying the ingredients are made from palm oil.

This happened multiple times.

To support palm oil free products and brands

I believe it’s important for palm oil free products to be recognized positively online and on social media.

So many products contain palm oil. When companies take strides to use other ingredients other than palm oil and derivatives, I want to thank them.

By showcasing these brands and products without palm oil, I can let companies know consumers care about palm oil free products.

I also want to make it easy for consumers to support these products and brands so these companies will keep their brands palm oil free and make more of their products without palm oil.

To reduce demand for palm oil

I firmly believe that every single person who doesn’t buy something with palm oil in it and who buys products without it makes a difference. I think there is a lot we can do when we vote with our dollars and voice our opinions.

Why I Started this Website

I first became interested in palm oil because my son gets sick from products made with palm oil and palm oil derivatives. When he eats or uses something with it, he experiences allergy-like symptoms, including cough, throat clearing, and congestion.

Other times he gets hives and/or a sore throat with congestion.

Other times he may have a combination of symptoms, may be sick for days or weeks, or become extremely lethargic with a change in mood.  

Since learning how palm oil adversely affects him, we work hard to completely eliminate it from his diet and personal care products. In so doing, I’ve learned to cook from scratch more often as well as bake everything from scratch.

It has taken a long time to find safe, palm-free products for him. Oftentimes, companies change and discontinue products, which is frustrating. We have been successful after much online research, in-store research, communication with companies, and trial and error.

These are items we use which help us to live without palm oil

From comments on our posts, (thank you, Readers!) I am learning how many people cannot tolerate palm oil. I’ve also had many people reach out via email and on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

It seems many people have symptoms from palm oil, palm kernel oil, and palm oil derivatives. Like us, they have found it very difficult to find palm oil free products, especially as more and more companies are using it.

Health reasons and environmental reasons

With the massive environmental concerns and implications as well as the health concerns, we decided to create a website to help consumers find products without palm oil. We are doing all we can to promote and support these products and brands without palm oil.


As we learned more about palm oil, we learned about the deforestation for new palm oil plantations. Indonesia and Malaysia are two countries in which rainforests have been cleared for palm oil. These are the countries that produce the most palm oil.

Wildlife such as the Bornean orangutan, Sumatran orangutan, Sumatran tiger, Sunda pangolin, Sumatran rhinoceros, Borneo pygmy elephant, and so many others who live in rainforests are displaced, killed, etc. because of deforestation for new palm oil plantations.

In addition, it affects indigenous people who live there.

Why It’s Difficult to Find Palm Oil Free Products

Palm oil goes by over 500 names in ingredients that aren’t immediately obvious. Most likely, you are using palm oil in everyday products and don’t even know it.

In the United States, over 50% of packaged foods contain palm oil. In certain product categories, it is difficult to find products free from palm oil. Therefore, some categories will only have a few products listed.

Also, demand for palm oil continues to increase. Some products that were recently free from palm oil, now contain it.

According to the New York Times, demand is supposed to triple by 2050.

Part of the reason for the increase is manufacturers now use palm oil in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to ban trans fats from processed foods.

Companies needed to find an alternative. Palm oil is cheap and typically less expensive than other oils. More can grow per hectare of land than other oils.

Also, it’s an extremely versatile oil. Manufacturers are able to manipulate palm oil many different ways and use it in thousands of products.

What product categories contain palm oil

Palm oil is prevalent in:

  • Packaged foods, including, candy, cereals, cookies, ice cream, frozen pizza, bread, pie crust and other desserts and baked goods
  • Dairy, plant-based, and nut milks, creamers, whipped cream 
  • Vegan foods, such as vegan butters, margarine, shortening
  • Self-care products, including soap, deodorant, sunscreen, toothpaste, makeup, shampoo, conditioner, lotion/moisturizer, lip balm, nail polish
  • Cleaning products, including dish soap, surface cleaners, laundry detergent

What We Can All Do

With the goal of finding more palm oil free products, we can:

  1. Read ingredient labels, and choose palm oil free products.
  2. Avoid ingredients with “Palm” in the name, such as Vitamin A Palmitate.
  3. Learn other names for palm oil ingredients. Some common examples include:
    • Glycerin
    • Glycerine
    • Stearic Acid
    • Mono and Diglycerides
    • Tocopherol / Vitamin E
  4. Email companies directly and contact them on social media to thank them for making palm oil free products.
  5. Contact companies to tell them to make more products without palm oil.
  6. Vote with your dollars! Read labels, and only buy products free from palm oil.
  7. Buy unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables.
  8. Cook and bake from scratch.

I continue to update this site regularly.

Many manufacturers are replacing their ingredients with palm oil. Be sure to read each label carefully before you buy anything.

Thank You for Supporting Palm Oil Free Products

Together, we can let companies know we want more products without palm oil.

Thank you so much for being interested and informed! Please look around this site to learn more. Sign up for emails to be notified when there’s a new post. Follow on Facebook and Instagram.

I would love for you to Comment below with your interest and experiences. Do you avoid palm oil? Why?

Please know, I am working hard to only post palm oil free products. However, these lists are not guaranteed unless they earned Palm Oil Free certification. Do your own due diligence.

Support Palm Oil Free certification labeling by telling companies to get their products certified through POFCAP and Orangutan Alliance.

Featured image photo credit: Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture