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Posted: 5:58 a.m. Friday, Jan. 13, 2017

Claims: Nutella ingredient could cause cancer, hazelnut spread company fights back

European agency making the claaim

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
File photo

By Natalie Dreier

Cox Media Group National Content Desk

You may want to reconsider the Nutella for breakfast if the claims of food experts prove to be true.

Last year, the European Food Standards Agency said that one ingredient in the popular spread, could cause cancer, Reuters reportedThe EFSA said that when palm oil in the spread is heated over 392 degrees Fahrenheit, it releases more of a potentially carcinogenic contaminant, called GE, than other oils.

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EFSA has not said to stop eating Nutella, but added that more research is needed to assess the risk.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization also has said there's a potential risk, but did not say to stop eating products with palm oil. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also has not banned palm oil, Reuters reported.

But Nutella isn't waiting for that research.

Ferrero, which makes the hazelnut spread, has started an advertising campaign saying that its product is not only great tasting, but also safe to eat.

It also has information on its webpage explaining how and why the company uses palm oil.

Other Italian companies have decided to abandon the use of the oil.

Nutella said that if it was forced to switch to an oil like sunflower oil, its product wouldn't be the same.

Palm oil is also used in chocolate, margarine and other snacks, Reuters reported.

Nutella makes up about one fifth of Ferrero's sales, the Telegraph reported.

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