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“Apologies for the controversy on Nutella. I agree on highlighting the progress.” The French Minister for Ecology, Segolene Royal, sends a message of apology via Twitter to try to fix the situation. A first step to close what was turning into a “Nutella crisis” between Italy and France, after the tensions on immigrants in Ventimiglia.

The peacekeeper tweet came after Agnese Landini Renzi, wife of the Prime Minister, went with her daughter Esther, during a visit to Expo Milan, to the “Nutella’s bar” of Eataly and ordered “a crepe with Nutella and cream”.

Segolene Royal was the one who a few days before, during a television interview, had invited French citizens to “stop eating Nutella in order to save the planet.” She referred to the presence of palm oil, considered one of the factors responsible for global deforestation.  The Italian reply, in a more direct and symbolic way came from the Minister of Environment, Gian Luca Galletti, and the vice chairman of the Senate Roberto Calderoli who had called Segolene Royal’s words “baffling” .

Before starting the institutional visit to Palazzo Italy of the British Prime Minister David Cameron, Agnese has brought her daughter Ester to eat a crépes. In the “Nutella’s space” the patron of Eataly, Oscar Farinetti, welcomed them. Then Mrs. Agnes, dressed in a white lace sheath dress, sat down with her daughter at the bar for a snack.

She didn’t mention anything about the controversy of the day before, but the news and the photo did not go unnoticed beyond the Alps. No comments also from Ferrero, which has always claimed the sustainability and the quality of its products, and surely didn’t like this attempt to boycott French Nutella.

After Segolene Royal had called the French citizens not to eat the hazelnut cream in order to save the planet from deforestation, Ferrero stated: “Ferrero France uses 100% certified sustainable palm oil for its products packaged in Villers-Ecalles”   “Ferrero’s products – the company stated – are made by the exclusive use of oil palm fruit certified as sustainable and segregated in accordance with the provisions for the suppliers company by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil – RSPO). Ferrero reached this goal a year earlier than originally planned deadlines. But Ferrero’s social responsibility does not end with the certification: the Group has committed to continue with its ”Palm Oil Charter’’ launched in 2013, that aims to stop the main causes of deforestation and reach an optimal balance between environment, community needs and economic benefits. “

Even Malaysia complains for Royal’s statement. The CEO of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), Dr. Yusof Basiron replies to Royal’s accusations: “Minister Royale is flat wrong, and is misleading the French and European public.  The Malaysian Palm Oil industry needs public confirmation from the French Government that Minister Royale’s comments do not reflect official French Government policy towards palm oil. What’s more, Malaysia is the largest producer of certified sustainable palm oil, which is evidence in itself that Malaysia is not deforesting as Minister Royale, and her far-left Green friends claim.”

The CEO of MPOC explains: “Malaysia is the world’s largest producer of sustainable palm oil, and is a major exporter of palm oil to Europe. Malaysia is proud to preserve 62 per cent of land as forest cover – an unparalleled environmental commitment, recognized by the United Nations and the World Bank. France has a paltry 29 per cent forest cover, by comparison. In addition, 23 per cent of this forest is set aside for protection and conservation and 70 per cent of the total forest area is permanent forest, which means it can never be put into agriculture or human development.”

“According to respected economic analysts Europe Economics, palm oil contributes substantially to the French economy. 4,600 jobs in France are linked to palm oil imports; palm oil contributes 170m EUR in tax revenues to France; and over 320m EUR in French GDP is attributed to palm oil.”

 

Source : L’Espresso

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