During a December 5 rally in Ravenna, Lega leader Matteo Salvini said he no longer eats Nutella, because the manufacturer Ferrero produces its iconic hazelnut spread with Turkish rather than Italian nuts, according to an article in EURACTIV studying Salvini’s approach to food policy.
However, his communication strategists forced him to make a U-turn. The day after, he tweeted that he was enjoying a slice of bread and Nutella to sweeten the day. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Turkey is the world’s largest hazelnut producer, accounting for about 72.9% of the total world supply and for more than 80% of the world’s hazelnut trade.
Italy follows with nearly 20% in production and 15% in export, but it is not enough to meet the global appetite for Nutella.
In 2015, when he was an MEP, Salvini took Nutella’s side against French Environment Minister Segolene Royal who suggested Ferrero use raw materials others than palm oil, which contributes to deforestation.
Recently, Salvini has condemned the Nutriscore, a nutrition label that converts the nutritional value of products into a code consisting of five letters, from A to E, each with its own colour.
A European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “Pro-nutriscore” launched by some consumer associations and backed by the Greens and the socialist group in the European Parliament aims to make the system, which was developed in France and is also being used in Belgium and Spain, mandatory for all manufacturers at EU level.
But with less than 100,000 signatures collected so far, it is unlikely they are going to reach the 1 million needed to force a Commission legislative initiative.