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Would You Give up Nutella to Save Our Planet’s Forests?

The race to produce palm oil, a key ingredient in the popular spread, is leading to massive deforestation around the world.

Photo by Flickr user Janine.

The French ecology minister pissed off Nutella-lovers and Nutella-makers this week when she suggested that people stop eating the chocolate-hazelnut spread, saying that it’s destroying our forests. The company that makes Nutella, Ferrero, uses palm oil, and sources 80 percent of it from Malaysia. But ecology minister Ségolène Royal says they should use a different ingredient.

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Yum! Brands Commits to Using Deforestation-Free Palm Oil By 2017

The Union of Concerned Scientists’ palm oil scorecard shines a spotlight on big brands’ environmental practices

Image via pixabay user sarangib

From fried chicken and french fries to shampoo and face wash, palm oil is a near-ubiquitous ingredient used in many of your favorite products.

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Flip-Flopping on Fats

Health and sustainability concerns drive the two largest donut chains to change their policies on palm oil.

Illustration by Addison Eaton

Last week, Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme both announced intentions to revise their buying policies on palm oil, and ethical donut gobblers across the nation rejoiced. Cultivation of the oil, used not only in frying donuts but also in a vast number of other global foods and consumer goods, is implicated in rampant deforestation and workers’ rights abuses, coating every cruller with an unappetizing sprinkling of guilt. So the donut world’s decision to source only from certified ethical and sustainable suppliers, part of an expanding market reaction against the oil’s evils, feels to many like a significant everyday victory for conscious consumerism. But for many others, the decision just raises the question of why we were so blithely using such a seemingly destructive product in our food for so long. The answer isn’t that we were duped (although palm oil does disguise itself in products). We turned to palm oil because, thanks to years of conditioning and demonization, we’ve learned to fear most other fats.

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