JOURNAL MONITOR EDITION 29 : THE PALM OIL-BASED PRODUCTS BECOME SOLUTION IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
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The Covid-19 pandemic that occurring around the world has not yet shown any signs of its ending in the short term. Even in some countries, such as Indonesia, the curve of positive cases of Covid-19 continues to increase with an average increase in the number of cases about 4 thousand, cases per day. However, all of us must struggle to be able to carry out economic and social activities normally, by accepting the existence of the Coronavirus as part of life. One of the efforts to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic is to implement health protocols, including maintaining immune system by consuming nutritious food and maintaining body hygiene.
The contribution of the palm oil industry in the pandemic is more visible by being part of the solution to “control and handle” Covid-19 through their products produced by the downstream industry. In the food and health product apart from being versatile material so it can be applied to all food products that are found in aisle supermarket, palm oil also contain rich of vitamin A and vitamin E, even the contents greater than other food sources. The content of vitamin A (retinol equivalent) in crude palm oil (CPO) reaches 6700 μg, while the content of vitamin E in palm oil reaches 1,172 ppm. Lauric acids is contain in palm kernel oil also able to maintain and modulate the body’s immune system. Apart from being a “biological factory” for vitamins A, vitamin E and lauric acids that can boost the immune system, palm oil also contains palmitic acid which plays a role in providing protection for the lungs, which this component are needed in this pandemic.
Meanwhile in the hygiene product, the palm oil industry is also capable of producing personal care products (soap, shampoo), detergents, hand sanitizers, and biodisinfectants which are useful for maintaining personal and environment hygiene as an effort to prevent Coronavirus transmission, at the same time these products also more eco- friendly because it can be easily decomposed in nature (biodegradable). The implementation of health protocols and new habits during the pandemic, such as regularly washing hands with soap or using a handsanitizer and maintaining personal and environmental hygiene, also have an impact on increasing palm oil-based biosurfactant (oleochemical) products as raw material for hygienic products. This is confirmed by the data on the absorption of palm oleochemicals in both the domestic and global markets (through export performance) has been increasing in 2020.