Rain forest advocates hang banner from Queens Pepsi sign to protest palm oil use

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LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens  — Protestors scaled the famed Pepsi sign in Queens Monday to call on the company to stop using palm oil.

The ingredient goes into Doritos, granola bars and other snacks.

It is farmed in Indonesia, where the Rainforest Action Network says PepsiCo has slashed and burned rain forests to make room for palm oil plantations.

They say the operations are rife with human rights abuses, including child labor and employee exposure to toxic chemicals.

PepsiCo says they take any alleged human rights violations seriously and they are investigating.

"When questions arise about the practice of suppliers, we take them seriously and engage to address the matter," said Aurora Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for PepsiCo. "As RAN knows, we investigate every alleged violation of our policy they or any other person or organization has brought to us.

Gonzalez said their Palm Action Plan outlines the measures and timings around meeting the commitments. She said the company is working to switch to a more sustainable palm oil supply and they plan to do so fully by 2020.

But that promise lags behind others in the industry, according to the Rainforest Action Network.

PepsiCo's annual shareholders meeting is set for next week.

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