The European Food Safety Authority officials issued a warning about one of Ferrero’s most popular products, Nutella. Researchers claim that palm oil found in the spread’s composition could be a threat to consumer’s health. The warning comes after scientists determined that palm oil has carcinogenic properties when processed at temperatures exceeding 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
Furthermore, other products that use refined palm oil in their composition such as margarine, cakes, and pastries have been cited by the EFSA as the main source of exposure to the harmful ingredient for individuals aged three and above.
The researchers discovered that carcinogens such as 3-monochloropropanediol, glycidyl fatty acids, and 2-monochloropropanediol formed when working with palm fats and palm oils at high temperatures. Nevertheless, the EFSA did not say Nutella in itself is a health hazard. However, palm oil is the main ingredient used in the tasty spread’s composition that gives it the distinctive smoothness and long shelf life.
Apart from the emerging allegations that processed palm oil could severely impact one’s health, the ingredient has seen its fair share of controversy in the past, as well. Several years back harvesting palm oil on industrial scale contributed to human rights violations, species extinction, high greenhouse gas emissions, and extensive deforestation.
In light of these events, Nutella’s parent company issued the Ferrero Palm Oil Charter that guaranteed palm oil fruit used in the spread’s composition does not contribute to the aforementioned abuses. Furthermore, Ferrero refuted the claims that palm oil present in its product’s composition contributes to health hazards, citing a campaign that went on in the 80s which described the ingredient because of its presumed dangerous effect on one’s health. Back in the day, the scientists found no basis for the allegations, and the consumption of palm oil rose once again as a result.
Other foods and products that use palm oil in their composition include ice cream, packaged bread, margarine, various detergents, and lipstick. However, the allegations are specifically aimed at Nutella because of its public stand in the defense of the potentially harmful ingredient.
If Ferrero was to replace palm oil in Nutella’s composition, financial experts estimate the company would lose millions in revenue, as the product makes up for roughly a fifth of the company’s sales.
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