Loopholes

While butter that cows produced had a slightly yellow color, margarine had a white color, making the margarine look more like lard. Many people found it to look unappetizing. Around the late 1880s the manufacturers decided to dye the margarine yellow, so it would sell more. Dairy firms, especially in Wisconsin, became alarmed and succeeded in getting legislation passed to prohibit the coloring of the stark white product. In response, the margarine companies distributed the margarine together with a packet of yellow dye. The product was placed in a bowl and the dye mixed in with a spoon. This took some time and effort and it was not unusual for the final product to be served as a light and dark yellow, or even white, striped product. During World War II, there was a shortage of butter in the United States and “oleomargarine” became popular. In 1951 the W. E. Dennison Company received patent number 2,553,513 for a method to place a capsule of yellow dye inside a plastic package of margarine. After purchase, the capsule was broken inside the package and then the package was kneaded to distribute the dye. Around 1955, the artificial coloring laws were repealed and margarine could for the first time be sold colored like butter.

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One response to “Loopholes

  1. Pingback: Loopholes | Reaction Times

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