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Palm oil and junk food

Italy is now freed from palm oil ' in food. Except for some products which, incidentally, qualify as HFSS (High Fats, Sugar and Sodium). Or more simply, junk food. Junk food, brief review and reflections.


- San Carlo, 'Highlander - tomato flavor'(already quoted in previous article). Denomination 'crisps - Crinkle Chips [?] with tomato flavor'. 

Distinctive features, palm oil and sodium glutamate in the ingredients list. 

Saturated fat 12% (total fat 30%), sugars 2,7% (carbohydrates 53%), salt 1,4%, 517 kcal per 100 g.

- Mondelez, 'Cipster - the Original'. Denomination 'fried potato puffs'. Violation of the law, absence of the potatoes mentioned in name of the food. The first ingredient on the list is instead 'potato flakes and starch', followed by palm oil. (1) 

Saturated fats 9,5% (total fats 22), sugars 0,7% (carbohydrates 64), sale 3,86%, 476 kcal per 100 g.

Poor legibility on a silver background.

- Mondelez, 'Fonzies - the originals'. 

Denomination 'corn crunchies with cheese '. But it is melted and powdered (!).

Characteristic signs, in addition to palm and sodium glutamate, E627 and E631 flavor enhancers, possibly derived from meat or fish. Possible non-suitability for vegetarians, to be verified.

Saturated fats 15,5% (total fats 32), sugars 4,7% (carbohydrates 51), salt 1,23%, 525 kcal per 100 g.

Poor legibility on a silver background.

Sweets to die for

- Giovanni Cova & C., 'Croissant with chocolate cream filling '.

In the ingredients list, 'vegetable margarine'with'non-hydrogenated vegetable fats from palm ...'and' natural yeast 'of unknown composition. (2)

Health risk, illegal allergens ('dried nuts'?). (3)

Saturated fat 13% (total fat 20), sugars 27% (carbohydrates 54), 423 kcal per 100 g.

- Ferrero - Nutella, Kinder (eggs ..), Rocher, etc etc.

The palm tree dominates Ferrero's ingredient lists, without being nor sustainable nor 'good'. (4) The numbers from SuperEnalotto, in excerpt below.

Nutella, saturated fat 10,6% (total 30,9), sugars 56,3% (carbohydrates 57,5), 539 kcal.

Nutella b-ready, saturated fat 9,5% (total 27), sugars 47,1% (carbohydrates 60,7), 521 kcal.

Rocksaturated fat 14,1% (total 42), sugars 39,9% (carbohydrates 44,4), 603 kcal! A little less than butter, which though has other virtues.

Palm oil, junk food and health

The marriage between the use of tropical fat in foods and their poor nutritional profile is evident, already in these few examples. We will be happy to develop a broader analysis with the contribution of readers, even more happy to learn the definitive abandonment of this problematic ingredient, the primary cause of land robbery and deforestation. 

Nutritional labels with colored markings they would certainly be useful for marking red products such as those in question, whose consumption must be reduced to a minimum in terms of frequency and quantity. Against the concrete risks of overweight, obesity and related diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases e tumors) - starting from childhood. Risks that unfortunately already afflict our population

Pending measures suitable regulations to facilitate the choices of consumers, it is recommended to avoid products that include palm in the list of ingredients. For health ours and our loved ones. Even more so for that of the communities torn away by violence from their lands, and of the environment. 

'Of course, it is not that man has the duty to devote himself to the eradication of evil, even the most inordinate; rightly, he may have other matters to attend to; but it is his duty, at least, to keep himself out of it, and, if the thought of him is far from it, he must not help the evil in fact. If I dedicate myself to other purposes and projects, first I must at least verify that I am not pursuing them by sitting on the shoulders of another man. First of all I have to go down from there, so that he too can pursue his goals'(Henry David Thoreau)

Dario Dongo


(1) It is not known the composition of 'potato flakes and starch'. In the case of compound ingredients, the lack of citation of their composition would constitute a further offense. Regarding the rules for indicating the ingredients on the label, see the article https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/etichette/lista-ingredienti-abc

(2) Is there perhaps an 'animal' margarine on the market today? Violation of reg. EU 1169/11, article 7.1.c.

As for the illegality of the wording 'non-hydrogenated vegetable fats', see the article https://www.foodagriculturerequirements.com/archivio-notizie/domande-e-risposte/oli-non-idrogenati-risponde-l-avvocato-dario-dongo

(3) To learn more about the allergen indication on the label, see the articles https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/etichette/allergeni-linee-guidahttps://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/salute/può-contenere-allergeni-abc

(4) In this regard, see the recent scientific study by R. Cazzola Gatti et al., 'Sustainable palm oil may not be so sustainable', up https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/olio-di-palma-insostenibile-la-scienza-conferma

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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