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Thread: The Politics of Yellow: Butter vs. Margarine

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    Djiril's Avatar
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    The Politics of Yellow: Butter vs. Margarine

    Grass fed cows tend to produce milk that, when made into butter, has a slightly yellow color. When margarine was invented as a butter substitute and they began producing it for U.S. consumption in the late 1880s, one marketing problem was its color. The vegetable-based product has a clear, white-ish color and looks something like lard; many people found it unappetizing. So the margarine people wanted to dye margarine yellow.
    The dairy industry rightly saw margarine as a threat and they lobbied politicians both to outright ban margarine or to ban dying it to look like butter. The federal government imposed a two cent per pound tax on the product in The Margarine Act of 1886 (the tax was quintupled in 1902). Many states, especially dairy states, made dying margarine illegal (e.g., New York, New Jersey, and Maryland). By 1902, “32 states and 80% of the U.S. population lived under margarine color bans.”
    Read the rest:
    http://thesocietypages.org/socimages...ics-of-yellow/

    I just read a very good book on the history of food adulteration which talked about this a bit, it said that yellow dye used to be sold with margarine when it was illegal for the companies to dye the margarine themselves, but the book didn't explain how people dyed the margarine at home the way the ad shown in the link does.


    Last edited by Djiril; September 22nd, 2011 at 06:41 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djiril View Post
    Read the rest:
    http://thesocietypages.org/socimages...ics-of-yellow/

    I just read a very good book on the history of food adulteration which talked about this a bit, it said that yellow dye used to be sold with margarine when it was illegal for the companies to dye the margarine themselves, but the book didn't explain how people dyed the margarine at home the way the ad shown in the link does.



    Bolding mine.

    I remember that: The margarine was sold in a heavy-weight, well-sealed, clear plastic bag. The color was placed in a small, round pouch in one corner--a dot about a quarter to half inch in diameter. I remember learning how to squeeze the color pouch to break it inside the larger bag, and squishing the margarine around until it was all yellow. What intrigued me at the time was that the color in the little pouch was red, but turned the margarine yellow.

    Glo

    I looked at the article after I posted this. Down at the bottom of it, there is a paragraph describing what I just described.
    Last edited by Sharedaughter; September 29th, 2011 at 10:00 PM. Reason: added information
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    This reminds me of another food legend. When Ocean Spray decided to market dried sweetened cranberries as "Craisins," the California Raisin Board objected, claiming that consumers would confuse them with ordinary raisins. They demanded that Ocean Spray only refer to the product as "dried cranberries." Ocean Spray supposedly responded: Sure, as long as you only refer to your product as "dried grapes."

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    Margarine grosses me out and this just adds to it!

    I'm getting a copy of Swindled though, that's right up my food psycho alley!!
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