Angela Chen, writing on the Verge, wants you to join her Nutella campaign. She’s talking about that spread made from hazelnuts, sugar, palm oil, cocoa and other ingredients.
The Food and Drug Administration considers Nutella a dessert topping, as Chen points out, but its manufacturer wants the FDA to put it in the same category as honey, jam, jelly, fruit butter and molasses or to create a separate classification for a nut-based cocoa spread.
Why would you care? “The main difference,” Chen writes, “is that the serving size on the food label for jam is one tablespoon, while the serving size for dessert topping is two tablespoons.”
If you glance at the Nutella label, you’ll see “200 calories.” That’s for two tablespoons, the serving size for a dessert topping.
“If Nutella were reclassified as a ‘jam,’ its food label would say that it has 100 calories per tablespoon,” Chen writes, “and that could make people think it’s healthier than it is. People are already bad at reading food labels. . . . We often don’t keep track of how much we eat and are easily tricked by a small number next to the ‘calorie’ box — which is exactly what would happen in this case.”
The FDA is seeking public comment. You have until Jan. 3 to tell the agency whether you consider a normal serving of Nutella to be one tablespoon or two.
And if you’d like a little background, consider this: The spread was created in postwar Italy by the Ferrero family of candy fame. It was originally shaped in a loaf so it could be cut to fit nicely on a slice of bread. In 1964, it was put in a jar and named Nutella.
And today? The company says that the amount of Nutella produced in a year weighs as much as the Empire State Building. That’s a lot of tablespoons.
— Kathy Lally