Palm oil has been the center of controversy for many years and now it could change how you look at your favourite spread.
If you’re one of the many millions of Nutella fans this may come as bad news to you. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has highlighted an ingredient in the popular hazelnut chocolate spread that could cause cancer.
The culprit is palm oil – a potential cause of cancer when exposed to high temperatures which is one of the primary ingredients of Nutella owned by Italian company Ferrero.
Palm oil contains carcinogens including glycidyl fatty acid esters (GE), 3-monochloropropanediol (3-MCPD), and 2-monochloropropanediol (2-MCPD) which are produced in the refining process which can also have the potential to change the structure of DNA within the body.
Despite the uproar, Ferrero are standing by one of their most popular products claiming the consumption of Nutella is perfectly safe. Palm oil is used in the product to give it that smooth, spreadable consistency and Ferrero say swapping this out for alternative oils will change the spread we know and love i texture and taste.
“Making Nutella without palm oil would produce an inferior substitute for the real product, it would be a step backward,” stated Vincenzo Tapella, purchasing manager for Ferrero.
The company claims that their refining process does not raise the temperature of the oil to the 200 degree Celsius limit when it starts to form carcinogenic properties and so far, research has not looked into whether lower temperatures of palm oil could still pose a risk to health.
Palm oil isn’t just a threat to our health. The use of palm oil has contributed to much wider environmental problems including deforestation and extinction of animals in their destroyed habitats, human rights violations as well as contributing to high carbon emissions and greenhouse gases.
The EFSA’s original report into the potential health risks of palm oil can be found on their website.