The ‘cold-pressed’ palm is a myth. Ferrero, it’s time to turn over a new leaf

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With a snarky communiqué taken on five continents – that publicity battage follows and the widespread background buzz on TV and generalist media, besieged by off-the-cuff interventions always in line with the Voice of the Master Ferrero unveils the secret recipe for its sublime cold-pressed palm oil. But something doesn’t add up.

The Alba-based giant-after claiming it was sourced ‘from sustainable and certified sources,’ but without offering any specific news on the matter (1)-has gone so far as to boast of the quality of its tropical fat because ofits extraction at ‘controlled temperatures. Temperatures that only Ferrero, among the large international players, would seem to be able to contain through effective investments intechnology and machinery.

A fresh ingredient, squeezed from the fruit and minimally refined was the suggestive image already imposed on the collective imagination to defend palm oil at all costs. Indeed, Asian palmocrats and their big clients adumbrate the presence of beneficial substances contained in theCold-pressed palm oil, such as tocotrienols (Antioxidant derivatives with much more potent action than vitamin E).

He slipped, however, su a banana peel, or perhaps a palm, the Piedmont giant’s purchasing director Vincenzo Tapella, to Reuters microphones on 11.1.17. Just as he was intoning the conspiracy theory jingle – ‘it’s an artfully constructed diatribe’ – he went further Ferrero imports semi-refined palm oil and finishes refining in its factories‘. And it went further, where ‘Ferrero uses a controlled temperature below 200 degrees that creates a lower amount of contaminants than is created on average using other oil‘ (2).

Palm ‘cold-pressed? As in a deep fryer

But how, ‘Below 200 degrees’? Is the threshold of a fryer thermostat! They had tried to make us Believe that the ‘ palm fruit pressing process was in some way comparable tothat used for cold extractionof virgin olive oils – That under reg. EU 29/2012 should not exceed 27 °C – and instead reach temperatures From fries! Which in turn revealed toxicities related to acrylamide formation precisely because of the temperatures, albeit controlled when too high…

TheCommunications and Market Authority might well comment on the suitability of Ferrero’s and the Sustainable Palm Union’s advertising campaigns to deceive and mislead consumers, in the bucolic presentation of naturalness and freshness that clash with reality. But you know, this is Italy, and the topic is so hot that even the so-called mainstream media cannot come close (3).

The Ferrero man, on the ropes, tried to call TINA (There Is No Alternative!). But Tina does not respond because alternatives exist, and how! This has been demonstrated by Coop Italia and Barilla among others (4), recalls the same Reuters agency.

So he tries again until Tina, now annoyed, blurts it out: it takes at least $8 million a year, to replace palm with other oils. Perhaps less than has been spent in recent months on advertising and promotions in Italy alone to stem the decline in sales and reputational damage. Indeed, if the cost of ‘temperature-controlled’ processing increases the cost of an $800-a-ton raw material by 20 percent, with sunflower oil at US$845 (5) and the acclaim of global consumAtors would risk the resounding success to which we in turn yearn. But even Tina is exhausted hearing about palm, she can’t even manage 2+2….

Notes

(1) Amnesty International, on the other hand, has since shown in detail slavery and child labor on Indonesian palm plantations ‘certified’ by the same co-interested entity RSPO (Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, an oxymoron), see https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/food-times-blog/la-grande-bugia-dell-olio-di-palma-sostenibile-il-rapporto-di-amnesty-international-inchioda-big-food,

(2) http://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-ferrero-nutella-insight-idUSKBN14V0MK

(3) http://www.lintellettualedissidente.it/italia-2/s-palma-che-tammazza/

(4) https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/food-times-blog/senza-olio-di-palma-il-successo-del-vero-made-in-italy-fa-breccia-nella-lobby-di-rspo

(5) http://tg24.sky.it/tg24/salute-e-benessere/2017/01/13/nutella-olio-di-palma-costi.html?social=facebook_skytg24