(FOX NEWS) - Italian confectionery firm Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, is battling back in defense of palm oil, an ingredient that many food companies are now boycotting amid claims from a U.K. study that says the controversial ingredient may cause cancer.
In May, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said that palm oil produces a higher potential carcinogenic contaminant than other vegetable oils when refined at temperatures higher than 200 degrees Celsius (about 390 degrees Fahrenheit).
Although authorities didn’t recommend against eating it, they did say that further evaluation and research would be needed to determine the level of risk. Now the creator of the popular chocolate and hazelnut spread, is pushing back against those claims and is publicly arguing that a change in the ingredients would compromise the integrity of Nutella.
"Making Nutella without palm oil would produce an inferior substitute for the real product, it would be a step backward," Ferrero purchasing manager Vincenzo Tapella told Reuters. Palm oil, it says, helps stabilize the spread, keeps it creamy and enhances its shelf life.
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