Margarine vs. butter: eternal rivals?

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Margarine arrived in the US in the 1870s, causing a war with dairy farmers who falsely claimed it caused illnesses. The dairy industry also opposed coloring margarine yellow. By 1902, most states had imposed color limits, and some required it to be dyed pink, red, brown, or black. Six states have banned margarine altogether. Senator Quarles of Wisconsin summed up the pro-butter stance.

Margarine, an imitation butter spread typically made from vegetable oil and animal fat, first arrived in the United States in the 1870s, sparking a long war with American dairy farmers. Pro-butter fighters falsely claimed that margarine caused a variety of illnesses and could even lead to insanity. And when the margarine companies wanted to color their product yellow, to make it more palatable, the dairy industry screamed, claiming that the yellow margarine was a conspiracy to deceive the public. By 1902, most US states had imposed color limits on margarine. Vermont, New Hampshire and South Dakota have passed laws requiring margarine to be dyed pink. Other states have proposed that it should be red, brown, or black.

Saying Butter Is Better:

In 1869, a French chemist patented an alternative to butter made from cattle tallow. He called it oleomargarine, from the Latin oleum, meaning beef fat, and the Greek margarite, meaning pearl, a nod to its gleaming white appearance.
In 1886, pressure from the dairy industry led to the passage of the federal Margarine Act, which levied a tax on margarine and required its producers to pay prohibitive licensing fees. Six US states have banned margarine altogether.
Senator Joseph V. Quarles of Wisconsin summed up the pro-butter stance: “I want butter that has the natural flavor of life and health. I refuse to accept as a substitute fat for caul, ripened under the chill of death, mixed with vegetable oils and flavored with chemical tricks.

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