Palm oil has no place in our butter supply

Have you found your butter harder to spread at room temperature? While you might think that’s due to the fact that it’s cold outside, it is potentially caused by something else entirely – palm oil!

What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks?!

We looked into all the details surrounding #buttergate, so you can be well informed before you make your next butter purchase.

NPR reports that food experts are linking “buttergate” to the increased presence of a palm oil derivative. This has been dismissed by the dairy industry, but the Dairy Farmers of Canada say they are investigating.

Sylvain Charlebois is senior director of Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab. Last year he noticed differences in comparing an organic stick of butter with a regular one. “Is it me or is #butter much harder now at room temperature?” he tweeted in December, using the hashtag #buttergate. He is convinced that an increased use in palmitic acid — a byproduct of palm oil that’s commonly added to cow feed — is the cause for this change in butter’s spreadability.

The Globe and Mail that “though it’s perfectly legal for dairy farmers to use palm fat in livestock feed, whether they should be is a contentious issue.”

Butter sales grew 12% in 2020 over 2019, which might account for the pressure on dairy farmers to add the palm fat – it increases milk production. Charlebois told NPR, “Palmatic acids are actually quite expensive, but they’re cheaper than getting new cows in a barn for sure.”

“A Buttergate is not what the industry needs, or what Canadians deserve,” Charlebois wrote in an op-ed.

On Wednesday, a group representing some of Canada’s major dairy producers yielded to mounting consumer pressure by calling for a ban on palm-based dairy products.

Nothing is set in stone yet, and consumer demand will likely be imperative in pushing for the ban. So get vocal, start tweeting and add your voice to the fight for real butter!




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