You better believe it’s not ‘butter’

Read the original article by Lisa M. Keefe by here.

In a new front in the battle over how to label plant-based substitutes there is the age-old example of “butter” being sold in the state of Wisconsin.

As the country’s maker of actual dairy-from-the-cow butter, Wisconsin has been hosting its own labeling dust-up this spring when it began a series of enforcement actions against plant-based spreads that said “butter” on the label, according to a report by Bloomberg.

In mid-April, the state regulators stepped up their enforcement and began to demand that supermarkets remove any non-dairy product labeled “butter” from their shelves; in a letter to retailers, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection told retailers that the products were in violation of existing state statutes, which require that “butter” be made from milk or cream. Plant-based substitutes have to be labeled “imitation” or “vegetable oil spread,” for example.

Anecdotally, the enforcement affected only a few stores but at least one alt-dairy butter producer, California’s Miyoko’s Kitchen, felt the actions had a material effect on their sales and have been seeking a way to get its shelf space restored.

Since April, the directive has been put on hold while a public comment period plays out.

Elsewhere in the country, the labeling issues are focused on dairy products such as cheeses and milk, or on plant-based meat substitutes. Controversy over butter isn’t new to Wisconsin, though; until the 1960s, the state prohibited the sale of margarine within its borders.

Add Comment