“Nutella has been removed from some supermarkets, but does it really cause cancer?” an article in the Independent read. The makers of Nutella, Italian Ferrero, are fighting back against a palm oil study that was done claiming that the ingredient is not safe to use. The company says that changing the ingredient would mess-up the texture and characteristics of the iconic spread. Economically, it is also the cheapest oil for the brand to use.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) did a study that found that palm oil did generate more of a potentially carcinogenic contaminant than other vegetable oils when refined in temperatures above 200 degrees Celsius. The World Food Health Organization and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization also found the same results. However, none of these three, along with the U.S Food and Drug Administration, have stated that people should completely stop consuming palm oils.
The controversy was more so created when Italian supermarket Coop boycotted palm oil in all of its own-brand products after the EFSA study. However, Ferrero is not the only European company still using palm oil, other brands include Unilever and Nestle.
In a quote from an ad by Ferrero, they basically said that the palm oil that they did use was safe because it came from freshly squeezed fruits and was processed at controlled temperatures.
Food safety is a tricky topic, especially nowadays, when so many products seem to have either chemical component, cancer agents, and so forth. Can anything really be 100% safe? A turn to all natural products show that consumers are interested in “eating right.” People care about what goes into their bodies, and that’s a good thing, but at the same time, we should know what kinds of threats to take serious and which ones we can overlook. We depend on rules and regulation to help us, but as with any industry, including food, there are also components of a business being run and profitability at stake. So we, as consumers, must always keep that in mind. Eat well and eat smart.
By Rhea Braganza