January 11, 2017 | by Zara Zhi

A major ingredient in Nutella may cause cancer. This new revelation has led to the popular chocolate hazelnut spread to be pulled from grocery store shelves throughout Europe.

In May, the European Standards Agency warned that there could carcinogenic chemicals -- Glycidyl fatty acid ester (GE) -- in palm oil when heated above 200 degrees Celsius, or almost 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Palm oil is a major ingredient in the spread and gives Nutella its smooth, velvety texture and prolongs shelf life, reports The Sun.

But Ferrero, the maker of the spread, is now fighting back against claims Nutella could cause cancer with a marketing campaign. The Italian corporation reassures its customers of their decision to keep palm oil in the spread, despite fears.

“Making Nutella without palm oil would produce an inferior substitute for the real product, it would be a step backward,” Ferrero's purchasing manager, Vincenzo Tapella, told Reuters.

However, substituting sunflower or rapeseed oil would actually increase the cost, making the spread cost around $22. The Independent reports Ferrero did not respond to the inquiries about their contradictory claim.

Nutella is a leading product for the company and generates one-fifth of its sales. Ferrero uses about 185,000 tons of palm oil a year.

The EFSA did not completely advise people against consuming it and said more research needed to be done in order to reach a full conclusion. The World Health Organization and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization both warned about the possible risks of palm oil, but stopped short of suggesting people stop consuming it.

High temperatures are used on the oil to remove its natural red color and neutralize the smell. Ferrero insists that they use an industrial process that does not heat the substance above 200 degrees Celsius. "The palm oil used by Ferrero is safe because it comes from freshly squeezed fruits and is processed at controlled temperatures," said Tapella.

Enrico Brivio, Spokesmen for Health and Food Safety at the European Commission, said guidelines related to palm oil will be delivered by the end of 2017.

Dr. Helle Knutsen, chair of Contam, the EFSA panel that investigated palm oil, stated, "There is sufficient evidence that glycidol is genotoxic and carcinogenic, therefore the Contam panel did not set a safe level for GE."

Those procedures include rules limiting the amount of the contaminant in food products. Several stores in Italy have already boycotted Nutella as a safeguard.

Sources: The Independent, The Sun / Photo credit: A. Kniesel via Wikimedia Commons


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Replies to This Discussion

Cadbury's Take Note!

Start making real chocolate again, minus the palm oil.

Stop taking the cocoa butter out and replacing it with junk, you cheapskates!

Cadbury lost a lot of lifetime customers by changing that ingredient eh Martin - I was one of them, switched to Whittaker years ago

Give it all up! Chocolate is a no-no with IBD.

Totally agree Martin, these companies will put in what ever they can get away with regardless of health, its always about the money.

People have been blinded over the years to not bother to check, with what is actually in their food, and just assume its safe.....

There is more poison in the food chain today, than in any other time in history, and not just in the food but water, air and in every medication that we take comes with it are risks.

Is food Medicine or Poison? Sure takes a lot of navigating that today.

all palm oil makes me feel like crap .dont like it ,dont like how they are obtaining it .its still on the store shelves where im at ,other brands are also making nutella with a different name.theyre adding palm oil to all the nut butters "to make it no stir" .... so wish i could just grow what i need anymore.cant trust none of them 

i just buy the guittard extra dark chocolate chips for chocolate anymore.not organic but not gmo and the expensive chocolates all have lead and cadmium anymore.all teeth are removed now so cant go back to eating plain ol organic chocolate nibs 


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