Warnings to dog owners as reports of palm oil washed up on beaches across Cornwall

Dog owners have been warned to stay vigilant after reports that palm oil has been found washed up on the Cornish coastline.

Reports claim that the substance found on Porthmeor Beach was palm oil. Credit: Little Goat Gruff, St Ives

On Friday 15 November multiple organisations posted the warnings on Twitter.

They claimed that hundreds of lumps of palm oil had been found washed up on Porthmeor Beach in St Ives.

St Ives Harbour account reported that the substance had also been found on Porthgwidden and Porthminster.

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Friends of Portheras tweeted images on Friday (15 November) of an "unidentified orange substance" at Pendeen coves.

The group added the coastguard is investigating.

Credit: Friends of Portheras
Similar substances were spotted at Porthgwidden and Porthminster. Credit: Friends of Portheras

Further possible palm oil residue was again spotted at Portheras Cove on Sunday morning (17 November) - as well as plastics washing ashore coated in the substance.

Credit: Friends of Portheras
Credit: Friends of Portheras

Cornwall Council is also urging dog owners to take extra care, stressing that the oil can be "dangerous" if dogs come into contact with it.

What is palm oil?

Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil, used in around half of the packaged products you find in supermarkets - like chocolate, pizza, deodorant and toothpaste.

It's widely used because of its versatility. It keeps spreads spreadable, gives products a longer shelf-life and doesn't give foods a strong smell or colour.

The oil has been linked to a number of environmental issues but can also cause problems if it's released into the sea. It can become contaminated with other waste products which - if eaten by animals - can be dangerous.

The substance is often found on the shoreline in coastal areas. Credit: Little Goat Gruff, St Ives

What do I need to look out for?

Look out! It comes in a variety of forms.

Sometimes its seen as white, pebble-sized lumps. These are often found on the shoreline.

While it's not toxic for dogs, it can cause sickness and diarrhoea. It can also cause more serious health issues in extreme cases.

Much of the risk is thought to derive from other toxic products mixed into it when released into the sea.

Have you spotted any more palm oil on Cornish beaches? Call 0300 1234 141 to report it.

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