LA STAMPA (Italy), LE MONDE (France)
PARIS - With their competing culinary traditions, France and Italy are used to friendly arguments over cooking supremacy. But a minor food war has now erupted over something straight out of the jar: Nutella, the Italian chocolate-hazelnut spread beloved by kids (of all ages!) in both countries.
A bill is moving forward in the French Senate that would levy major additional taxes on palm oil, a key ingredient in Nutella. Socialist party Senator Yves Daudigny, who proposed the tax, says palm oil can be a major factor in the growing ills of obesity and heart disease.
The current tax is 98.74 euros per ton of palm oil, while this amendment would increase it by an additional 300 euros, a more than 300 percent increase. The tax would force Nutella to rise by six cents per kilogram, reports Le Monde.
The Italian daily La Stampa reports that the French affiliate of Ferraro, the northern Italian food giant that makes Nutella, has hit back explaining that the oil “doesn’t contain hydrogenated fats, whose toxic effects are well known.” The food industry in France has also responded, asking why, if it is so harmful to one's health, is it being taxed and not banned completely?
If the tax is approved, it will add an estimated 40 million euros to the government coffers. Still, it may not slide through so easily: there are no doubt secret Nutella lovers inside the French Senate.