The leader of Italy’s far-right opposition party has said he is no longer a fan of Nutella after finding out the product was made with Turkish nuts.

Matteo Salvini, who lost his position as deputy Prime Minister in August in a political gambit aimed at securing greater power that saw his party ousted from government, has long used food as a symbol of national identity.

And while he regularly poses with espresso and shares images celebrating the nation’s cuisine on social media, his League party’s “Italians first” motto has seen politicians passionately defend products made in Italy as an extension of its populism.

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Now he has told supporters he is no longer a fan of Nutella – the chocolate spread he once loved – arguing that manufacturer Ferrero should use Italian-grown hazelnuts instead of Turkish produce.

“I found out that Nutella uses Turkish nuts and I prefer to help companies that use Italian products,” he said at a rally in the northern city of Ravenna on Thursday, after a woman suggested he have a sandwich.

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World news in pictures

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World news in pictures

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People stand on top of a collapsed six-storey building in Nairobi, Kenya. Local media reported that several people are feared trapped as the rescue operation continues

2/50 5 December 2019

A man wearing a clown mask and waving a smoke bomb takes part in a demonstration to protest against the pension overhauls, in Marseille, southern France, as part of a national general strike. France scrambled to make contingency plans on for a huge strike against pension overhauls that poses one of the biggest challenges yet to French President’s sweeping reform drive

3/50 5 December 2019

Southeast Asian Games, Vietnam v Indonesia, Women’s Volleyball Preliminary Round – Philsports Arena, Pasig, Philippines

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Firefighters work to contain a large fire at an industrial building at Inlet Road inn Auckland, New Zealand

5/50 3 December 2019

Doan Quynh Nam Tran of Vietnam competes in the women’s gymnastics at the SEA Games (Southeast Asian Games) in Manila

6/50 2 December 2019

A youth plays on foamy discharge, caused by pollutants, as it mixes with the surf at a beach in Chennai

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Southeast Asian Games at the Royce Hotel, Mabalacat, Philippines. Vietnam’s Pham Hong Anh in action during her single dance final.

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A child holds a placard during a ‘drop dead’ flashmob protest against climate change consequences at Lumpini Park in Bangkok, Thailand

10/50 28 November 2019

Pro-democracy protesters hold an SOS sign and US national flags during a Thanksgiving rally in Edinburgh Place, Hong Kong. Protesters were thanking US President Donald Trump for signing into a law ‘The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act Hong Kong’, provoking an angry backlash from the Chinese government. Hong Kong is in its sixth month of mass protests, which were originally triggered by a now withdrawn extradition bill, and have since turned into a wider pro-democracy movement

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Rescuers with a dog search through the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Durres, western Albania

12/50 26 November 2019

A shepherd leads a flock of sheep on a pontoon bridge in Allahabad

13/50 25 November 2019

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14/50 24 November 2019

A protester jumps between burning tires during ongoing anti-government protests in Basra, Iraq

15/50 23 November 2019

Fans dressed as Star Wars characters during day three of the first Test between Australia and Pakistan at The Gabba in Australia

16/50 22 November 2019

Pope Francis speaks with religious leaders during a meeting at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand

17/50 21 November 2019

A girl injured in last night’s attack by the Syrian regime on a camp for displaced people near the Turkish border in Idlib, Syria is held up to the camera

18/50 20 November 2019

Indian paramilitary soldiers detain a Congress party supporter during a protest against the withdrawal of Special Protection Group (SPG) cover to party president Sonia Gandhi, her children and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, in New Delh. The move to lift off the SPG security, an elite force that protects prime ministers and their immediate families, led to sharp reactions from the Congress, which accused the government of personal vendetta

19/50 19 November 2019

An image taken from a plane window shows Sydney shrouded in smoke from nearby bush fires

20/50 18 November 2019

Protesters run for cover after riot police fired tear gas towards the bridge they were climbing down to the road below, to escape from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Dozens escaped the besieged campus by lowering themselves on a rope from a footbridge to a highway. Once on the road they were seen being picked up by waiting motorcyclists

21/50 17 November 2019

Anti-government protesters draped in Iraqi national flags walk into clouds of smoke from burning tires during a demonstration in the southern city of Basra, Iraq

22/50 16 November 2019

A protester wearing a yellow jacket waves a French flag in a fountain during a demonstration to mark the first anniversary of the “yellow vests” movement in Nice, France

23/50 15 November 2019

A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to return a tear gas canister fired by Israeli forces amid clashes following a weekly demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kfar Qaddum

24/50 14 November 2019

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25/50 13 November 2019

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26/50 12 November 2019

An Israeli missile launching from the Iron Dome defence missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells. They were sent up to intercept rockets launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip. Israel’s military killed a commander for Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a strike on his home, prompting retaliatory rocket fire and fears of a severe escalation in violence

27/50 11 November 2019

A species of deer thought to be extinct, the chevrotain, has been spotted for the first time in 30 years in the wilds of Vietnam. The deer is around the size of a domestic cat

28/50 10 November 2019

The royal motorcade of Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, under tight security, passes through a street in Tokyo. Thousands of people gathered for the rare open-top car parade featuring the newly enthroned Emperor

29/50 9 November 2019

People knock over a mock-up of the former Berlin Wall during a performance prior to the German first division Bundesliga football match Hertha BSC Berlin v RB Leipzig on the 30 anniversary of the fall off the wall

30/50 8 November 2019

Flames from an out of control bushfire from a nearby residential area in Harrington, northeast of Sydney. Australian firefighters warned they were in “uncharted territory” as they struggled to contain dozens of out-of-control bushfires across the east of the country

31/50 7 November 2019

Demonstrators shine lasers during a protest against Chile’s government in Santiago, the capital

32/50 6 November 2019

Activists from India’s main opposition Congress party shout slogans as they are stopped by police during a protest against what the activists say is economic slowdown in the country, in Guwahati, India

33/50 5 November 2019

Smoke rises from a fire in downtown Lagos, Nigeria. Firefighters worked hard to try and extinguish a fire at the Balogun market. Thick black smoke and flames shot from the five-story buildings as fire trucks attempted to get access

34/50 4 November 2019

Women run down a sand dune as they take part in the desert trek “Rose Trip Maroc” in the erg Chebbi near Merzouga. It is a female-oriented trek where teams of three must travel through the southern Moroccan Sahara desert with a compass, a map and a topographical reporter

35/50 3 November 2019

Riot police descend an escalator inside the City Plaza mall in Hong Kong after a bloody knife fight wounded six people there. A local pro-democracy politician had his ear bitten off during another chaotic day of political unrest in the city

36/50 2 November 2019

People participate in the celebration of the ‘muerteadas de Jalapa del Valle’, as part of the Day of the Dead in Mexico

37/50 1 November 2019

Firefighters work to control flames from a backfire during the Maria fire in Santa Paula, California

38/50 31 October 2019

Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, over the Vestrahorn mountain in the east of Iceland

39/50 30 October 2019

A model presents a creation at the show Heaven Gaia by Xiong Ying during the China Fashion Week in Beijing. The fashion event runs from 25 October to 2 November

40/50 29 October 2019

Hindu devotees collect rice as offerings on ‘Annakut’ or ‘Govardhan Puja’ festival at the Madan Mohan temple in Kolkata. People in large numbers gather at the temple to collect the rice offerings in the belief that it will keep them in good health and they’ll never face poverty or scarcity of food

41/50 28 October 2019

Authorities investigate after a Port Authority bus was caught in a sinkhole in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

42/50 27 October 2019

South Africa players celebrate after beating Wales in their Rugby World Cup semi-final match. The Springboks will face England in next Saturday’s final following fly-half Handre Pollard’s match-winning penalty four minutes from time. The match ended 19-16

43/50 26 October 2019

Participants from Thailand pose in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as they take part in the annual gay pride parade in Taipei. Some two hundred thousand revellers marched through Taipei in a riot of rainbow colours and celebration as Taiwan held its first pride parade since making history in Asia by legalising gay marriage

44/50 25 October 2019

A girl enjoys a ball bath as she is being photographed at the made-for-Instagram museum ‘Cali Dreams’ in Dusseldorf, Germany. No artworks are shown in this museum, rather each visitor himself becomes an artwork by staging himself in front of one of the 25 sceneries. Cali Dreams is initially open for three months. After this test phase, however, the museum is planned as a long-term project

45/50 24 October 2019

A fire lorry speeds towards a rampant wildfire near Geyserville, California

46/50 23 October 2019

Protesters facing Lebanese army soldiers wave national flags in the area of Jal al-Dib in the northern outskirts of Beirut. A week of unprecedented street protests against the political class showed no signs of abating, despite the army moving to reopen key roads. Protests were sparked on October 17 by a proposed tax on WhatsApp and other messaging apps

47/50 22 October 2019

Liberal leader and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves to supporters beside his wife Sophie after the federal election at the Palais des Congres in Montreal. He managed to hold on to power, albeit of a minority government, in one of the most divisive elections in the country’s history

48/50 21 October 2019

A convoy of US vehicles is seen after withdrawing from northern Syria, on the outskirts of Dohuk, Iraq

49/50 20 October 2019

Japan players go over to thank their fans after South Africa beat them in the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup. Makazole Mapimpi double ended the hosts’ dreams in Tokyo 3-26. The Springboks will now face Wales in the semi-finals for a place in the final

50/50 19 October 2019

Archaeologists remove the cover of an ancient painted coffin discovered at Al-Asasif Necropolis in the Vally of Kings in Luxor, Egypt

“I prefer to eat Italian and help Italian farmers”.

However it is unclear Italy would be able to meet demand. Turkey is the world’s largest producer of hazelnuts, and Ferrero is the world’s biggest purchaser of the crop – buying up 25 per cent of the global supply of the nut in 2015. 

Italy comes in at second for hazelnut production, producing 20 per cent of the global crop to Turkey’s 70 per cent, according to the UN.

Mr Salvini has since toned down his opposition – clarifying he would still eat the product while imploring Ferrero to “buy Italian ingredients, from sugar to hazelnuts, to help our farmers”.

However his clarification came after the comments attracted mocking by political opponents – including former PM Matteo Renzi who accused Mr Salvini of ignoring matters of national importance, including issues around the Ilva steel works and the Alitalia airline, to discuss chocolate spread.

“In the days of ILVA, Alitalia, the budget law and the Nato summit, Senator Matteo Salvini attacks Nutella. Yes, Nutella,” Mr Renzi said.

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“He says that this seems more important to the people – and I am naive to insist on talking about construction sites, taxes, Europe”.

Ferrero had no comment.

Additional reporting by AP