Published: 16:22, 18 February 2021
| Updated: 16:52, 18 February 2021
Dog walkers have been warned to be careful on a Kent beach after palm oil was found.
Dover District Council (DDC) put the message out via social media channels this morning after the discovery at Sandwich Bay.
The substance can cause gut-related health problems in dogs, and can be fatal if mixed with other toxins like fuel.
On Facebook the council said: "Dog walkers are advised to avoid the beach at Sandwich Bay where palm oil has washed ashore. Palm oil is toxic to dogs if ingested. Authorities aware and arranging for safe removal."
A council spokesman said this afternoon: "We can confirm that there was a deposit of palm oil (in a block estimated to be over 100 kg) located at Sandwich Bay.
"HM Coastguard attended to move the deposit above the shoreline.
"DDC was informed and worked with KCC Waste to arrange for its collection, and we can confirm it was removed this morning.
"We continue to advise dog walkers to take care if palm oil is washed up as it is toxic to dogs if ingested."
Solidified palm oil, like that washed ashore on Britain's beaches, is usually white and looks waxy inside.
Veterinary website Vetsnow says: "International law permits ships to offload palm oil residue while still at sea, as long as they are at least 12 nautical miles from the nearest land and in water no less than 25 metres deep. Palm oil also finds its way into the marine environment when ships carrying it in their cargo collide or sink.
While palm oil is not poisonous to dogs, it does have a laxative effect and, if eaten, can cause sickness, diarrhoea, dehydration and, in extreme cases, pancreatitis.
"It can also cause blockages in the gut due to its semi-solid state. Some dogs have become seriously ill after ingesting palm oil. Much of the risk from palm oil is thought to derive from other toxic products mixed in it such a diesel oil from ships."
Extracted from African oil palms, the vegetable oil is controversial. High in saturated fat, it is used in many foods and non-edible products such as chocolate and deodorant.
Harvesting practices cause environmental concern particularly through deforestation and destroying the homes of orangutans and other endangered animals.
The BBC has previously reported: "Palm oil production is said to have been responsible for about 8% of the world's deforestation between 1990 and 2008.
"This is because forests are burned to clear areas where people can grow oil palms - even if it's illegal.
"Burning forests like this destroys the places where plants and wildlife live, meaning the area has less biodiversity.
"Species like orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers can be affected."