The makers of Nutella in Australia have fought back at attacks on social media alleging the Italian hazelnut and cocoa spread has “harmful” ingredients.
Blog posts such as “Say no to Nutella, it is poisoning you and your children” and “Why you’ll want to think twice before feeding your kids Nutella” are being shared by thousands on Facebook.
However, a Ferrero Australia spokesperson says Nutella is created with the utmost attention to the needs of consumers and their safety.
Palm oil used by Ferrero in Nutella is 100% certified sustainable palm oil (as defined by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) and traceable back to the plantation, the spokesperson says.
“In Australia, Ferrero is considered best practice by NGOs,” the spokesperson says. “Ferrero voluntarily clearly labels palm oil on its ingredients lists on its products and states that the palm oil is sustainable sourced.”
The social media posts claim that the artificial ingredient vanillin, which Nutella contains, is a neurotoxin that kills brain cells.
But according to an OECD report, “the use of vanillin as a food additive is approved by authorities worldwide.
“During the present reviewing of the available toxicity data for vanillin, no particular risk has been identified which should give reason to concern or additional toxicity testing in animals.”
The spokesperson says the Nutella website shows that vanillin is one of the most widespread flavourings in the world.
“The production of vanilla pods is not enough to meet the escalating global demand,” the spokesperson says. “That is why the food sector use also vanillin obtained by synthesis.”