Instant ramen is cheap, fast-cooking, and delicious. It’s the perfect inexpensive meal—right?

If you’re an instant-ramen fan, you may be surprised to find out that instant noodle brands produced by Nissin and Maruchan—including Top Ramen, Instant Lunch, and Cup of Noodles—contain up to 20% unsustainable palm oil. And that palm oil is “some of the cheapest and most environment-wrecking palm oil in the world,” according to Kaytee Riek, campaigns director at SumOfUs. Riek tells Salon that this unsustainable palm oil is “directly linked to deforestation, [and] responsible for the death of endangered orangutans and the displacement of communities.”


In Malaysia and Indonesia, rainforests are cleared to make room for palm oil plantations, which lets carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and destroys crucial habitat for wildlife.

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Photo: Facebook


The production of palm oil not only harms the environment, its production leads to the exploitation of workers. Riek explains that “the global demand for palm oil has skyrocketed,” directly leading to the exploitation of workers on palm oil plantations and the need for forced and child labor. Riek continues,

Instant noodles are cheap, convenient, and popular, but today they’re mostly a threat to our planet. Two of the biggest instant noodles producers in the world, Nissin Foods Holdings and Toyo Suisan Kaisha (Maruchan), have failed to adopt a truly responsible palm oil policy or cut ties with bad actors that clear rainforests, peatlands, and abuse the rights of communities and workers in the palm oil sector.

Salon points out that, according to The United Nations Environment Program, Indonesia is projected to lose 98 percent of its natural rainforest by 2022 due to palm oil expansion. Maybe it’s time to stop stocking the cupboard with Cup Noodles?

[via Salon]