The government wants to know how much Nutella you eat. No, it’s not some hidden provision in Obamacare, though that doesn’t make for a bad conspiracy theory. Actually, the FDA is trying to figure out whether to reclassify the chocolate hazelnut spread from a dessert item to a breakfast spread. Yes, if you’ve ever wanted to officially make Nutella part of your breakfast, this decision may be more important to you than Donald vs. Hillary.
According to Bloomberg, the issue began in 2014 when Nutella maker Ferrero SpA petitioned the FDA to change the serving size on its jars of chocolatey spreadable goodness. Currently, a serving of Nutella is listed as two tablespoons, but this choice isn’t some random number picked out of a hat: instead, it stems from the FDA’s classification of Nutella under “other dessert toppings” – one of 139 different categories the FDA uses to make sure similar products have comparable nutritional info. But in its petition, Ferrero argued that people aren’t using Nutella as a dessert spread anymore: In 2012, 74 percent of Nutella in the US was used on bread – a stat that not only implies that Nutella is classified incorrectly, but also that Nutella might be spying on us.
Ferraro’s argument: Nutella should be grouped with other bread spreads. “Because Nutella is used in the same manner as jams and jellies, uniformity in [the FDA’s system of] values among Nutella, jams, and jellies would enable consumers to make informed nutritional comparisons of these similar products,” Ferrero was quoted as saying in its petition. Notably, this change would also reduce Nutella’s serving size to just one tablespoon, cutting its calories (currently listed at 200) and fat (current listed at 11 grams) in half as well, potentially making the spread look more appealing to health conscious customers, but also, according to Ferraro, giving customers a better idea of what a normal serving of Nutella should be.
Now, in 2016, the FDA has decided to dig for more information on just how Americans are using their Nutella. According to Consumerist, for the next 60 days, the government organization is looking for people to answer questions like “What is the major intended use of flavored nut butter spreads?” “What data and information are available regarding the customary consumption amounts and product category for these similar products?” and “What is the major intended use of fillings for cupcakes and other desserts, such as cakes and pastries?” to help decide whether Nutella and other nut butter spreads deserve to be reclassified.
Who says our government can’t handle the important issues?