This story should be of particular interest to Tony, since he’s a big fan of Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut spread that originated in Italy. In fact, last time we taught in Rome with Tony, one of the first products he picked up at the local supermercato was a jar of Nutella.
Tony, however, might want to start increasing his stash, because leftists are now gunning for Nutella since it contains palm oil.
[Socialist] French Environment Minister Ségolène Royal has urged the public to stop eating the well known chocolate hazelnut spread, saying that it contributes to deforestation and damages 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,” Royal said in an interview late 15 July on the French television Canal+.
“Oil palms have replaced trees, and therefore caused considerable damage to the environment,” reported Agence France Presse (AFP)
So socialists are people who believe that the global climate is substantially altered by Nutella. Spreading Nutella over toast seems innocent enough, but enlightened leftists have obtained a deeper level of insight. They know that the goddess gaia will punish that sweet indulgence by causing the seas to rise, islands to sink, crops to wither, and deserts to expand. Because Nutella.
And these socialists mock Christians for believing nonsense.
Oh, and how much of global production of palm oil goes to producing Nutella? 0.3 percent.
“Ferrero sources approximately 170,000 metric tons of palm oil, out of a worldwide production of 60 million metric tons, meaning that Ferrero’s impact on the palm oil supply chain represents less than 0.3 percent,” the company said.
Doesn’t sound like Ségolène Royal’s boycott of Nutella could possibly accomplish much. But hey, there’s always the power to tax.
Not the first time France tries to curb palm oil use
In 2011, the Senate Committee on Social Affairs tried to push through a 300% tax on palm oil, claiming that it was dangerously fattening and its cultivation was bad for the environment. The measure was defeated, says AFP.
On the very same day this Nutella story was published, the U.S. government announced a new ban on partially-hydrogenated oils.
Artificial trans fat will be removed from the U.S. food supply over the next three years under a ruling by regulators that the products pose health risks that contribute to heart disease.
There’s no longer a scientific consensus that partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat, are generally recognized as safe, according to a final decision released Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration. The oils are used for frying and in baked goods as well as in confections.
The move “demonstrates the agency’s commitment to the heart health of all Americans,” FDA Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff said in a statement. “This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”
So once partially-hydrogenated oils are removed from the food supply, what will replace them? You guessed it: palm oil.
While Jacobson said palm oil as an alternative isn’t ideal because it contains saturated fat, it’s still better than trans fat.
“Trans fat raises the bad cholesterol and lowers the good cholesterol a little bit,” he said.“Saturated fat only raises the bad cholesterol.”
About 70 percent of palm oil is produced in Malaysia and some also comes from Indonesia and South America, Tiger Tangavelu, technical director at Global Agri-Trade Corp., said in an e-mail. The U.S. market size for palm oil is 2.6 billion pounds (1.2 billion kilograms) annually, he said. He expects that to increase by half a billion pounds a year once trans fats are eliminated.
By our calculation, that extra half a billion pounds exceeds the entire palm oil content of global Nutella consumption by about one-third. Did the FDA take into account the potential impact of their policy on the climate? Does Ségolène Royal know about this?
But seriously, Royal has zilch scientific evidence that Nutella has anything more than an infinitesimal impact on the earth’s climate.
Likewise, the FDA has no convincing scientific evidence that the ban on hydrogenated oils will “prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.” In fact, the evidence suggest that, even in the absence of a ban, consumption of such oils had already fallen to safe levels.
Once consumers heard about the risks associated with trans fats, they began avoiding them, and businesses consequently stopped using them as much. Between 1980 and 2009, Americans’ consumption of trans fats dropped around a third (as did our intake of saturated fats.) The FDA claims that “trans fat intake among American consumers has declined from 4.6 grams per day in 2003 to about 1 gram per day in 2012.”
As Baylen Linnekin points out, The American Heart Association has suggested that Americans consume “less than 2 grams of trans fats a day.” So, he argues, “if the FDA and AHA are correct, then current consumption levels—prior to and without any ban—are well within safe levels.”
All the rhetoric about saving lives and the planet is just posturing and political theatre intended to obscure a more cynical agenda of power and follow-the-money crony capitalism. (Monsanto corporation reportedly stands ready to cash in by selling a substitute oil made from soybeans.)
The company that produces Nutella claims that each jar contains 50 hazelnuts. But even nuttier than a jar of Nutella is anybody who takes seriously the assertions of politicians and bureaucrats.