Italy’s environment minister has told his French counterpart, Ségolène Royal, to “leave Italian products alone” after she said people should stop eating Nutella, the hazelnut spread made by Italian confectionery company Ferrero, because it was destroying the environment, reports The Guardian.
The spat over one of Italy’s most important products comes at an already tense moment in Italian-French relations, with a bitter standoff over hundreds of migrants stranded in the Italian border city of Ventimiglia after being denied entry into France.
The migrant issue is likely to be raised in a meeting on Sunday between the Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, and François Hollande, the French president, who will be visiting his country’s pavilion at the Milan Expo, where Ferrero is a “major partner”.
Luca Galletti, the Italian environment minister, rushed to Nutella’s defence after Royal said in a television interview that the use of palm oil in the product was leading to “massive deforestation”, which was a cause of global warming.
“We should stop eating Nutella, for example, because it’s made with palm oil,” she said in an interview on Monday night on Canal+. She said the product ought to be made with “other ingredients”.
Galletti retorted: “Ségolène Royal is worrying. Leave Italian products alone. For dinner tonight … it’s bread with Nutella.”