Say (No)tella for different reasons


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One of Nutella’s ingredients, palm oil, causes harm to the environment. Palm oil can be found in a variety of products such as shampoos, foods, makeup, and biodiesel. The oil’s cultivation leads to increased carbon levels and brings endangered species closer to extinction.

Lately, Ferrero has been getting a lot of heat over one of America’s favorite spreads: Nutella. The European Food Safety Authority has released a report over the carcinogenic contaminant in palm oil, a major ingredient in the chocolate hazelnut spread.

The report has led stores like Coop, a major grocery chain in Italy, to pull the product from their shelves, as well as other products that contain palm oil. Although EFSA’s report was released in May 2016, it appears that Ferrero’s refusal to substitute the palm oil in Nutella spread the ‘Nutella causes cancer’ panic across the Internet.

Yet, what many Internet articles failed to report was the fact that the palm oil in Nutella will most likely not cause cancer.

“The substances form during food processing, in particular, when refining vegetable oils at high temperatures (approximately 200°C),” according to an ESFA report that examined the contaminants in palm oil. Additionally, ESFA does not advise against eating Nutella or even mention the spread in its assessment.

Ferrero, as a response to the sudden attention, claims that it does not exceed the safe temperature and tries to limit contaminants.

“The palm oil used by Ferrero is safe because it comes from freshly squeezed fruits and is processed at controlled temperatures,” said Vincenzo Tapella, Ferrero’s purchasing manager.

However, does this mean that palm oil is without any harm? No, it does not.

The cultivation of this cheap oil has led to massive deforestation. Due to the popularity of the oil, rain forests and peat lands are being cleared in favor of palm oil plantations, most prominently in Malaysia and Indonesia, the two giants in palm oil production.

Not only is this detrimental for endangered species such as the orangutan, it is also terrible for the environment. By burning forests to make way for plantations, large quantities of carbon are being released into the atmosphere, expediting climate change. The decreasing amount of trees because of this process additionally hinders forests’ ability to remove carbon from the air.

Ultimately, although Nutella’s palm oil may not cause cancer, the ingredient in question does raise serious environmental concerns.

“My realization of palm oil’s harmful effect on the environment makes it less compelling to buy products that have [palm oil], Nutella included,” said Nandita Kulkarni, 10.