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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seize palm oil shipments in Baltimore worth nearly $2.5 million

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Posted at 12:48 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 12:48:19-05

BALTIMORE — The United States Customs and Border Protection officers have seized four shipments of palm oil in Baltimore since February 11 due to information revealing the product was made by forced labor, a form of modern slavery, officials said.

Officials say the palm oil shipments are valued at nearly $2.5 million.

CBP officers seized the latest shipment, consisting of 108 super packs of palmitic acid, on March 1 and seized three earlier shipments of a combined 270 super packs of palmitic acid on February 11.

Super packs are large flexible sacks that are used to transport bulk cargo, such as sand, grain, coffee beans or powdery substances, according to CBP officials.

Palmitic acid is palm oil refined into a powder that can be easily incorporated into food, beverages, and skin and health care products. Refining oils also removes unwanted free fatty acids, gums and waxes.

All four shipments of palmitic acid were produced in Malaysia and destined to a processing facility in Delaware. The combined weight of the four shipments of palmitic acid came to 544,176 pounds and had an appraised value of about $2,466,500.

On January 28, CBP issued a Notice of Finding to the Federal Register that certain palm oil and derivative products made wholly or in part with palm oil produced in Malaysia with the use of convict, or forced or indentured labor are inadmissible.

“There is no place for forced labor in today's world, and Customs and Border Protection stands firm against foreign companies that exploit vulnerable workers,” said Marc Calixte, CBP’s Acting Area Port Director in Baltimore. “CBP will continue to ensure that goods made with forced labor do not enter our nation’s commerce and we will help to root out this inhumane practice from the U.S. supply chain.”