France’s ecology minister risks causing an international rift after urging people not to eat Nutella.
“We have to replant a lot of trees because there is massive deforestation that also leads to global warming. We should stop eating Nutella, for example, because it’s made with palm oil,” Ségolène Royal reportedly said during an interview with French TV network Canal+.
Nutella is owned by Italian chocolate firm Ferrero which insists it is committed to sourcing palm oil in a responsible way. It also claims 100% of its cocoa, palm oil and coffee supplies are certified as sustainable.
'Nutella' is the result of combining the English word 'nut' and the Latin suffix for sweet, which is 'ella'. The hazelnut chocolate spread came into existence in 1946 as a substitute for cocoa following World War II. It became a spread in 1951.
Palm oil is a common ingredient in myriad products including margarines, biscuits, breads, cereals, shampoos, lipsticks and candles.
It is the most widely used vegetable oil on the planet, accounting for 65 per cent of all vegetable oil traded internationally, WWF writes.
Clearing land for palm oil plantations has led to widespread deforestation in regions including Indonesia and Malaysia and has pushed many species to the brink of extinction.
In comments reported by The Telegraph, Italy’s environment minister Gian Luca Galletti responded: “We grew up with Nutella and we’ll never give it up. If the French don’t want to eat Nutella, too bad for them, they don’t know what they’re missing.”
He later took to Twitter where he described Royal’s comments as “disconcerting” and demanded that she “leave Italian products alone,” before remarking he was looking forward to a dinner of bread and Nutella.
Segolene Royal sconcertante: lasci stare i prodotti italiani. Stasera per cena... pane e #Nutella— Gian Luca Galletti (@glgalletti) June 16, 2015
Ferrero announced the Ferrero Palm Oil Charter in 2013. It includes clauses such as not clearing high carbon stock forests, not using fire to clear land and protecting orang-utans and other endangered species by maintaining “high conservation value areas.”