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A strange law in Wisconsin that is meant to protect the dairy industry in the state by making it unlawful for restaurants to serve margarine as a substitute for butter is being targeted for repeal.
The 44-year-old law which is little known to many diners is popularly known to some as part of the colorful past of the Dairy State, even inspiring the Historical Society of the state to sell T-shirts showing a reproduction of the language of the law on a yellowish or buttered-colored background.
However, the law’s importance is so minimal that even the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers does not refer to it in a timeline of significant actions which affected their industry. Another issue about ban on margarine is that is has a loophole. Restaurants can abide by this law by simply serving both butter and margarine to diners.
As the 32-year-old accountant from Brookfield and Republican state Rep. Dale Kooyenga said, “I literally Googled ’stupid Wisconsin laws’ and this one came up as No. 1.” Rep. Kooyenga wanted to undo the law which he calls anti-free market, antiquated and downright silly.
Most of the restaurant owners are pretty aware of the existence of the law. However, it is not something that is talked about by the industry. This was according to Pete Hanson, the director of government relations for the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. He said that it is simply not an issue.
Hanson also said, “Restaurant owners are in business and are successful because they give customers what they want and in Wisconsin that’s generally butter. I don’t think there necessarily needs to be a law requiring butter to be on the table. I think most patrons in Wisconsin prefer butter.”