The $44 billion palm oil industry, under pressure in Europe after authorities listed the edible oil as a cancer risk, has found a vocal ally in the food sector: the maker of Nutella. Julian Satterthwaite reports.
BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~** NO ACCESS ITALY AND .IT WEBSITES Nutella is going into battle with health campaigners. Italian manufacturer Ferrero saying it will keep using palm oil to make the chocolatey spread. That despite claims that the ingredient could contain cancer-causing chemicals. Last year the European Food Safety Authority said palm oil contained more of contaminant called GE when refined at high temperatures. Some Italian stores banning palm oil in response. But Ferrero is unapologetic. It's taking out adverts to reassure consumers that palm oil is safe when properly used. The company says the substance is essential for Nutella's smooth texture and long shelf life. Alternatives like sunflower oil would also cost significantly more. There's much more than just Nutella at stake. Palm oil is used in thousands of products worldwide, including chocolate, margarine and snacks of all kinds. Producing it is a 44 billion dollar industry. Ferrero rivals Unilever and Nestle more cagey on the subject. They will only say they are working to minimise GE levels. Even if the Italian firm wins this battle though, it's unlikely to win over healthy eaters. Nutella is more than 50 percent sugar. Something its many fans probably prefer to overlook.