Last week, news source after news source reported that Nutella contained a possible carcinogen. The rumor can be traced back to a study published by the European Food Safety Authority, which claimed that Nutella contained the carcinogen glycidol, a byproduct of palm oil — an ingredient in the beloved hazelnut-cocoa spread. However, taking the giant leap from “glycidol is carcinogenic” to “Nutella causes cancer” is too much of a stretch.
According to Snopes, the claim does not hold up because glycidol only forms in palm oil when it is processed above 200 degrees Celsius. Ferrero stated it does not process the palm oil in this way for safety reasons:
“We manage all technological-productive factors with the aim to reduce the duration and the temperatures of the processes, thus minimizing the risks of possibly developing or increasing 2MCPD, 3MCPD or GE,” Ferrero said in a statement. “Furthermore, our Quality Assurance and Process Control Systems allow us to constantly monitor such factors and guarantee the food safety of our products to the consumer.”
The study itself does not attack Ferrero but is rather intended to encourage the decrease of palm oil usage in products and food brands around the world. Palm oil has already been known to contribute to global warming via deforestation, and fast-food brands like Yum! have already taken steps to eliminate palm oil entirely from their foods.