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Eating Nutella May Cause Cancer, Science Suggests

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Eating Nutella May Cause Cancer, Science Suggests

If you’re like basically anyone in the world, you love Nutella with everything. There are a ton of delicious recipes for everything from breakfast to dessert, and some surprising uses for it as well.

There are people who are absolutely obsessed with eating Nutella, so it comes as no surprise that a lot of people are pretty devastated at the news that one of the required ingredients to make it creamy and delicious might end up causing cancer.

Cue the waterworks and dramatics. Someone will need to build an ark so we can survive the incoming ocean of tears.

The 2017 study, which was headed up by the European Food Safety Authority, suggested that a key ingredient — refined palm oil — may be linked to an aggressive spread of cancer in laboratory mice.

Whenever cancer is threatened, people get understandably concerned.

There were also reports that Italian food companies were pulling Nutella from their shelves and boycotting the product, but these claims were proven as untrue.

Nutella requires palm oil to give it its amazingly smooth texture and works as a preservative to help it maintain a longer shelf life.

The company that owns the Nutella brand, Ferrero, says that they have no plans to change their ingredient anytime soon.

Given that they use around 185,000 tons of palm oil every year to make Nutella, switching to another oil would be incredibly difficult both for the cost and the hassle of getting new crops lined up.

However, it turns out that Ferrero may not actually need to remove the ingredient completely, which means there’s hope for Nutella addicts.

Some websites are quick to point out that the EFSA report does not say that palm oil directly causes cancer in people.

What the report does state is that when palm oil is refined at high temperatures (200 degrees Celsius), it may release potentially carcinogenic chemicals, glycidyl fatty esters (GE).

These chemicals have been linked to causing tumors in rats and mice, which led the EFSA to categorize it as a potential health risk for children and people who eat a LOT of it.

One of the most important things to realize is that rats may be used for testing, but that isn’t necessarily indicative of the effects on a human being, and as of yet, there have been no links between refined palm oil and cancer in people.

This means, that yes, there is a chance that you are not actually being affected the same way.

“At the moment, there is no scientific evidence” of a link between GE exposure and cancer in humans, said a spokesperson for the EFSA, since their conclusions “are based on available evidence on experimental animals.”

While it is important to be careful and to consider the risk, Nutella is not the only major food to contain palm oil, and there will be standards released later on to help offer hundreds of companies a guideline for acceptable levels of palm oil.

However, there are no plans at the time to ban the oil altogether.

So before you cry yourself to sleep thinking that you’ll never have the sweet taste of Nutella ever again, the best thing to do is to use moderation when consuming it, and also make yourself aware of what other foods you’re eating that might also contain palm oil.

Don’t worry — that Nutella-filled penis cake is still going to be delicious.

You just might need to eat it less frequently.

Merethe Najjar is a professional writer, editor, and author living in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their cat. You can follow her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on February 12, 2018 and was updated with the latest information.