Does Nutella cause cancer?
Last year, the European Food Standards issued a statement that chocolate spread Nutella contains a known cancer-causing contaminant.
Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, has since said that its product doesn’t in fact cause cancer.
But the EFSA stands by its warning, saying that contaminants in palm oil are carcinogenic and could pose a health risk for children – even those who only eat Nutella moderately. And since there is no absolute data on the cancer risk, the FSA says “no level could be considered safe”.
What makes palm oil carcinogenic?
When palm oil is heated above 200°C, it releases glycidyl fatty acid esters (GE), a compounds that scientists suspect causes cancer. The compounds are found in other foods such as margaine and some other oils. But the EFSA has said the most dangerous amounts are in palm oil.
Ferrero uses palm oil to give Nutella its smooth consistency. The manufacturer argues that substitute oils would change the quality of the spread, and cost millions of dollars.
A spokesperson said, “The presence of contaminants in food products, analyzed by the EFSA, depends on the oils and fats used as well as the processes they are subjected to.
"It is for this reason that for some time now Ferrero has been carefully selecting raw materials and industrial processes that limit their presence to minimum levels, fully in line with the parameters defined by the EFSA."
If you’re concerned about Nutella or other products containing palm oil, chat with a dietician or nutritionist.