You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. According to some stories being circulated online, the beloved hazelnut spread Nutella contains cancer-causing ingredients. The misleading “news” claims Nutella’s palm oil – the ingredient which delivers the spread’s beloved smooth and rich texture – contains chemicals that are genotoxic and carcinogenic. Not so, says multiple health and safety experts. This family favorite is safe to eat. These chemicals are present in every oil, they explain. In addition, Nutella’s manufacturer Ferrero uses carefully processed Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil which limits the presence of any contaminants.
Nutella is the pride of Italy and is one of the country’s largest exports. It’s an iconic brand in many parts of the world which may be why it was targeted for this attack. Ferrero fought back immediately, launching a massive educational campaign to reassure the public that Nutella is safe. Ferrero uses special low-temperature production processes and premium quality Malaysian palm oil to minimize impurities.
Others have also commented on this deceptive news.
- In an article in the New Strait Times, Malaysian Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said the allegation is a distortion of facts. The glycidyl fatty acid esters (GE) and 3-monochloropropanediol (3-MCPD) chemicals under attack are present in all edible oils, including olive oil, canola and soybean oil. He expressed his disappointment about the misleading reports and showed appreciation for Ferrero’s swift response. “On behalf of oil palm planters, I would like to express my appreciation to Ferrero Group, the world’s third largest confectioner and maker of Nutella, for keeping to its recipe of using palm oil,” he said.
- Guardian Assistant Editor Chukwuma Muanya’s article reported that, according to available scientific evidence, palm oil does not cause cancer. Palm oil supports health. The nutritious oil is rich with vitamins, such as vitamin E tocotrienols, a potent antioxidant which has been show to support brain, skin and heart health. Preliminary research has also demonstrated that palm oil’s tocotrienols may be able suppress the growth of some cancers. According to Wayne State University professor Pramod Khosla, preliminary results are so promising that researchers will be embarking on human clinical trials.