Canadas Buttergate prompts dairy group to ask farmers to stop using palm oil in cow feed
Dairy Farmers of Canada, a milk product lobbying group, has asked farmers to consider alternatives to palm oil supplements after home bakers started expressing concerns that their butter was hard.
There is no research proving why Canadian butter has gotten harder, but some dairy consumers are pointing to the increased use of palm oil in cow feed as the culprit.
This form of supplement is used to produce more milk fat from cows and can change the texture of butter.
Dairy Farmers of Canada formed a group of experts to look into "buttergate."
"Academics from different relevant areas along with sector experts will come together shortly to begin the work. DFC will also seek the views of consumers as part of this exercise," the group said in a statement. "Pending completion of this work, DFC is asking dairy farmers to consider alternatives to palm supplements."
The outrage came to light after Julie Van Rosendaal, a Canadian cookbook author, wrote a column in the Globe and Mail last week that an increased use of palm fats in cows' diets could be what is changing the consistency in the spread.
Including palm oil in cow feed is not new, but hundreds of farmers around Canada have recently stepped up their use of the supplements since this summer to meet an increased demand by home bakers spending more time in the kitchen, The BBC previously reported.
The use of palm oil is legal, but controversial because of a known link between the consumption of saturated fats and heart disease. Its production can also be damaging to the environment.
"Notwithstanding this announcement, we stress that all milk produced in Canada is as safe as always to consume and is subject to Canada's robust health and safety standards," Dairy Farmers of Canada said in a statement. "We also note that all animal feeds used on dairy farms are approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and are safe for animals."