The International Coconut Community (ICC) recently organized the International Coconut Oil Conference with the primary goal of tackling the global dietary guideline controversy. The conference gathered experts from diverse fields to delve into the most recent research findings, facilitate the exchange of ideas and insights for the benefits of both producers and consumers. Additionally, the conference aimed to foster research collaborations to address technology gaps. The conference had the theme "Rethinking Saturated Fat, Boosting Coconut Oil-Linked Health" and took place on October 30-31, 2023, at the Lumire Hotel & Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Mr. Reza Pahlevi Chairul , Director of Inter Regional Negotiations and International Organizations Ministry of Trade, and Alternate NLO of the Government of Republic Indonesia, officially inaugurated the conference. In his inaugural address he mentioned that the Conference is a crucial platform for discussion and formulating strategies based on credible scientific evidence on coconut oil. He also acknowledged the coconut oil contribution in helping to address the challenges related to food security and global supply chain disruptions as part of the SDGs. He underlined the importance of rebutting the negative campaign to coconut by comprehensive and reliable scientific evidence. He hoped that this conference would stimulate fruitful path among policymakers, companies and all stakeholders, hence making an effort to improve policies and regulations based on a high quality of scientific evidence.
Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director, ICC in her welcome address mentioned that this conference represents a significant milestone to address misconceptions about coconut oil and evidence-based understanding on coconut oil impact on health. The recent study findings that coconut oil is also can be converted into biofuel as the source of energy. Coconut is an integral part contributed to economic, social, cultural, environmental, and historically supported food security and food safety, so that it is aligning with the SDGs.
Dr. Fabian Dayrit (the Chair of ICC Scientific Advisory Committee on Health) delivered brief introduction of the conference.
The conference topics were covered in different four sessions in which esteemed experts from Australia (Prof. Ralph Martins, AO, Professor of Macquarie University and Edith Cowan University), Denmark (Dr. Arne Astrup, Senior Vice President of Novo Nordisk Fonden), India (Dr. Amit Ghosh, an Additional Professor of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Mr. Bipin Odhekar, Head-Operation Excellence of Marico Limited, Dr. Jeyan A. Moses, Assistant Professor of National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management – Thanjavur, and Dr. S. Praneetha, Professor and Head of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University), Indonesia (Dr. Ni Made Rika Trismayanti, Sp.BA, Pediatric Surgeon in Persahabatan Hospital and Dr. Susianto Tseng, Doctor in University of Indonesia), Philippines (Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit, a Professor in Ateneo de Manila University, Dr. Josephine Grace Rojo Tan, an ENT-Facial Plastic & Rhinoplasty Surgeon, and Mr. Roel M. Rosales, Deputy Administrator in Philippine Coconut Authority), Sri Lanka (Dr. Kapila N. Senaviratne, Senior Professor in University of Kelaniya), Thailand (Dr. Sineewanlaya Wichit, Assistant Professor in Department of Clinical Microbiology and Applied Technology, Mahidol University), and USA (Dr. Mary T. Newport,
The first session "Review and Status of Research Work Done on Facts and Misconception in the Dynamic World of Coconut Oil and Saturated Fats" emphasized the traditional saturated fats like coconut oil have been unjustly maligned in dietary guidelines, with one of the presentations tracing the historical shift in focus from sugar to saturated fats in the heart disease discourse.
The second session was on "Clinical Study Papers Contributed by The Researchers of Various Countries on the Nutrition & Health Aspects of Coconut Oil, Lauric Acid, Ketones and How It’s Different from Trans Fats". The speakers shared the diverse aspects of coconut oil's potential health benefits, including its anticancer properties, role in Alzheimer's disease management, antiviral effects on mosquito-borne viruses, re-evaluation of its impact on cardiovascular health, and its potential in preventing ulcerative colitis in children by reducing inflammation and inhibiting specific cytokines.
The speakers were highlighted the nutritional significance of coconut-based products and the challenges facing the coconut industry in their countries covered in the third session “Country Presentations -Importance of Coconut Oil for the Food Security: Strategies and Policies to Face the Global Challenges by the Major Coconut Growing Countries”.
The speakers explained the steps taken to maintain the sustainable development of coconut oil supply chain in the fourth session : "Technology Innovated and Adopted for the Sustainable Development of Coconut Oil Supply Chain for the Consumers Nutritional Benefit". They emphasized the industry's commitment to sustainable value creation and shared value, particularly evident in their holistic approach to product lifecycle sustainability. MD from Spring Hill Neonatology, Inc). shared their expertise with the participants. Experience sharing and testimonials were also part of this conference.
There were in-depth discussion after each session and the queries were attended by the speakers.
The recommendations crafted from this two days conference were presented which strives to foster collaboration among clinical scientists and medical professionals to bridge knowledge gaps through conclusive research while promoting the health benefits and multifunctional roles of coconut oil.