Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of their regular staples around the breakfast table.
Complaints have surfaced in recent months that butter seems harder and more difficult to melt, giving rise to an all-too-Canadian controversy: Buttergate.
Palm oil additives are suspected as a possible cause, and Dairy Farmers of Canada is encouraging its members to find alternatives to palm supplements in cattle feed as a working group looks into consumer concerns that butter has become harder.
The recommendation comes after media reports linked the purported change in consistency to the common practice of bolstering cows’ diets with palm byproducts, which federal authorities have approved as a safe ingredient in livestock feeds.
Animal science experts say there’s no feed supplement that’s as efficient or economical as palmitic acid, and warn that ruling it out could come at a cost to dairy producers and lead to an increase in butter imports.
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Daniel Lefebvre of Lactanet, which advises Dairy Farmers of Canada, says while buttergate is based on “unfounded claims,” a turn in public perception poses a greater threat to the dairy industry than asking farmers to eliminate a safe and effective method to maximize production.
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