Nutella ‘Damages The Environment,’ Says French Official: Should We Stop Eating It?

Is it true that delicious chocolate hazelnut spread Nutella damages the environment? Yes, according to French ecology minister Segolene Royal. Royal claims that pine oil, an important ingredient in Nutella, leads to deforestation.

In an interview with Canal+, Royal touched on the ways he feels Nutella is harmful to the environment.

“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. Oil palms have replaced trees, and therefore caused considerable damage to the environment.”

Stop eating Nutella to save the trees? That may be a big ask on a national level, not to mention internationally.

According to Business Insider, about 26 percent of all of the Nutella produced in the world is consumed by France alone! In recent years, Nutella has become a hit with Americans, as well. In addition, Ferrero, the Italian company behind Nutella, has enjoyed popularity in the United States thanks to their delectable Ferraro Rocher chocolate treats.

How such yummy goods can damage the environment may be puzzling, but it’s not unheard of for seemingly innocuous products to have a horrible impact on the Earth.

For example, many Americans thought nothing of the aerosol can products they used for decades for everything from pesticides to hairsprays. However, it was eventually learned that chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, in these products were depleting the ozone layer and having a genuine negative effect on the environment. Federal regulations caused CFCs to be removed from these products in the 1970s.

AFP News reports that Nearly 80 percent of the palm oil Ferrero uses in Nutella comes from Malaysia. The remainder comes from Brazil, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. In response to criticism about palm oil and environmental concerns, Ferrero has promised to acquire the ingredient “in a responsible way.” As of February, the company claims that 100 percent of the palm oil used in Nutella came from “sustainable sources.”

“[We at Ferrero have] a significant role to play in leading the sustainable transformation of the palm oil sector, for the benefit of the environment and of the communities living and working in palm oil-producing countries.”

Getting rid of the ingredient outright seems to be out of the question. According to Ferrero, the oil is what gives the spread its smoothness and helps avoid the use of trans fats.

What do you think about the claim Nutella damages the environment? Should consumers give up the chocolate spread or give Ferrero the benefit of the doubt? Please comment below!

[Image Credit: Flickr]