Transcript for Nutella Maker Fighting Back Over Report Ingredient May Cause Cancer
Now to the health concerns about the popular food spread nutella. A study says its ingredient palm oil could be linked to increased cancer risk. But its producers say the way their product is made makes it safe. We'll speak with Dr. Besser in a moment but first Mara schiavocampo has all the details. Reporter: This morning, the makers of nutella fighting back against some not so sweet health claims that an ingredient in their chocolate and hazelnut spread could cause cancer. It's a good wake-up call for understanding the potential ramifications of processing oils the way that we do. Reporter: This after food safety officials in Europe found palm oil used in nutella poses a potential cancer risk. Palm oil, the most popular vegetable oil in the world, is found in everything from ice cream to pizza dough but this new report says it can create carcinogens when processed at temperatures above 393 degrees. As is the case with nutella. While researchers don't say consumers should stop eating palm oil products, they do say more study is necessary. It's been never really pinpointed what is it about processed food that makes it so harmful for our health. Reporter: Now Ferrero, the company behind nutella is running this new commercial in Italy. Reporter: Saying their palm oil is safe adding in a statement to ABC news when palm oil is refined correctly it contains a lower level of contaminants than other vegetable oils. For "Good morning America," Mara schiavocampo, ABC news, new York. And ABC news received a statement overnight from the Indonesian palm oil association, that country is the largest producer of the oil in the world and the organization is calling for further studies. We're going to bring in our chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser to talk about it with us. I know this is very important for a lot of people who raised their hands saying they enjoy this product. Tell us more about this ingredient palm oil. So palm oil, when palm oil is heated to high temperatures during production of a lot of different food items, certain chemicals are made. And those chemicals when given to lab animals at high doses increased the risk of cancer. There have been no studies to show palm oil connection to cancer in humans, but the European food safety group that looked at this said, well, these chemicals can be a problem, we should pay some attention to this. What does the fda say. I talked to the fda yesterday. They said they're aware of the studies but from their perspective palm oil is safe to use in foods and will continue to look at the evidence. You're always telling us to look at the label because this isn't the only product that has palm oil. That's important. Palm oil is used in a lot of products because it improves the textures. It's mainly in processed foods so everything from popcorn. Margarine, cookies, instant noodles, whipped toppings, some of those are going to have palm oil in them. If you have a diverse diet you won't take in too much of that. Is there something if you like this product but a little concerned is there something else -- This should not be an everyday food, peanut butter, much better way to go. Less sugar. Three grams versus 21 grams of sugar and worry about sugar. All right, rich, thanks so much for that important information. Glad I wore my heels so I can see eye to eye.
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