Wis. Lawmakers Want To Loosen Margarine Law

More than a century ago, lawmakers in Wisconsin banned margarine if it was colored yellow to serve as a substitute for butter. The law was repealed in 1967. But the spread remains forbidden by the state in public places like restaurants and prisons — unless specifically requested.

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

And today's last word in business comes from the state that calls itself America's Dairyland. And that last word is: free the margarine.

DAVID GREENE, Host:

Lawmakers in Wisconsin think it's time to loosen an old state law. Well, over a century ago, lawmakers in that big dairy farming state banned margarine if it was colored yellow to serve as a substitute for butter.

INSKEEP: This prohibition led to decades of margarine smuggling across state lines. The law was finally repealed in 1967 - one of the lesser-known social upheavals of the 1960s.

GREENE: But the spread remains forbidden by the state in public places, like restaurants and prisons - unless specifically requested. Now the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that a dozen Wisconsin lawmakers want those restrictions to melt away, as well.

INSKEEP: But the effort is leaving a bad taste for some in the state that ranks second in the nation in butter production. That's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

GREENE: And I'm David Greene.

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