France proposes 'Nutella tax' on palm oil
A looming 'Nutella tax' in France that would raise taxes on palm oil by 300% is calling into question, once again, the nutritional health hazards of the vegetable fat used as the primary ingredient in the country’s favorite chocolate hazelnut spread as well as other pastries and processed foods.
Senators in France have called for a major tax hike on palm oil that would add to government coffers but also aim to reduce widespread consumption in the country: the average French person consumes 2 kg of palm oil a year, or 126,000 tonnes collectively.
The proposed tax, which will be voted on next week, would translate to a 6 euro cent hike per kilo of Nutella, or 30 euro cents on giant 5 kg pots of Nutella most commonly used in restaurants and creperies across France.
Palm oil is high in saturated fats which can lead to heart disease.
In addition to being a health risk, the industrial use of palm oil has led to widespread deforestation in Borneo, Sumatra and Indonesia, displacing and killing endangered populations of orangutans.
The proposed tax hike in France is the latest setback for the maker of the chocolate spread, Ferrero, which has also had to fork over millions of dollars in a class-action lawsuit for false advertising in the US where it was pitched as a nutritious breakfast food.
A two-tablespoon serving of Nutella contains 200 calories, 11 grams of fat, 3.5 of which are saturated, and 21 grams of sugar.
A typical chocolate and nut candy bar, meanwhile, has 250 to 300 calories and 12 to 16 grams of fat.