Archive | When butter and margarine were at war

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Archives | When butter and margarine were at war

October 22, 1987, margarine changed color.

October 22, 1987, margarine changed color. After allowing margarine producers to imitate the color of butter, the Quebec government is giving in to demands made for years by the dairy industry. A look back at the history of this food saga.

In August 1987, the Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Michel Pagé, suggested differentiating margarine from butter by coloring it mustard yellow. The announcement, which came into effect on October 22 of the same year, aroused an outcry from margarine producers.

Journalist Jean Larin hosted a round table at this subject to the Le Point issue of August 17, 1987.

Round table moderated by journalist Jean Larin opposing agricultural producers and margarine manufacturers.

On the set, the president of the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA), Jacques Proulx, and the spokesperson for the Association of Quebec Margariniers, Paul Bouthillier, face off.

Agricultural producers criticize the unfair competition in which margarine manufacturers are engaged in offering a product that looks like butter. This pale imitation of a natural product would mislead the consumer.

Protectionism? This is the argument opposed by margarine producers, to which Jacques Proulx reacts promptly.

“It wasn't the butter that attacked the margarine, it was the margarine that attacked the butter. »

— Jacques Proulx, president of the UPA, in 1987

In 1997, a grocer from Alma, along with the American company Unilever, filled his shelves with yellow margarine. Two hours after the sale, government inspectors seize the illegal containers.

Report by journalist Pierre Mignault on the controversy surrounding the color of margarine initiated by the company Unilever. The news bulletin is hosted by Pascale Nadeau.

Au bulletin Montréal this evening of 24 November 1997 hosted by Pascale Nadeau, journalist Pierre Mignault summarizes this affair.

Unilever accuses Quebec of contravening free trade and highlights the harmful consequences of this measure.

In October 2003, a judgment of the Court of Appeal of Quebec concludes that the Quebec legislation is consistent with national laws. Prohibiting margarine producers from using the color yellow does not contravene free trade agreements.

In the Téléjournal of March 17, 2005, the host Bernard Derome announces that the Supreme Court of Canada has finally ruled.

Excerpt where host Bernard Derome announces that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled on the regulation of the color of margarine in Quebec.< /p>

The Quebec government has the right to impose regulations in this area.

The Court thus rejected the arguments of the multinational Unilever, which questioned the jurisdiction of the Quebec government.

In 2008, after a 20-year saga, Quebec finally allowed manufacturers margarine to color their product yellow.

  • Margarine was once prepared with animal fats, tallow and lard emulsified with water and milk, then, in order to improve the taste and smell of fatty substances, vegetable fats have been substituted for animal fats.
  • Prohibited under the government of Maurice Duplessis, the sale of margarine was authorized in 1961.
  • As early as 1970, Quebec authorized the coloring of margarine, then colorless.
  • The judgment of the Court of Appeal rendered on October 7, 2003 dismissed Unilever Canada's request. The multinational requested the cancellation of the current by-law, which it described as “unconstitutional, invalid, inoperative, unreasonable and contrary to Canadian federalism”.

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