What’s Making Food History – March 3, 2021

‘Buttergate’ debunked: No evidence butter is harder due to palm supplements for cows (theconversation.com)

Stephen LeBlanc, Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Guelph professor, says “Based on the available evidence, it is improbable that feeding palm-based supplements has had appreciable effects on the properties of butter”

6 Responses to What’s Making Food History – March 3, 2021

  1. John Milligan March 3, 2021 at 3:04 pm #

    I’m so glad that the people at Guelph stepped in and debunked the hard butter story. I did a quick and dirty review using Google and could not find any evidence to support the palm oil story. However, the topic is way out of my ken and I decided that I couldn’t add much more than my opinion to the discussion. I like butter, especially in cookies. But i really prefer Canola-based margarine

    • Mary Leah de Zwart March 5, 2021 at 12:07 pm #

      I appreciate your opinion, John, with your extensive background in science.

  2. Judy March 4, 2021 at 12:50 pm #

    Nothing has been debunked. A headline in a newspaper does not settle an issue like this. Even Professor LeBlanc hedges with “based on available evidence.” I might also point out that Professor LeBlanc has no particular expertise in this field as his published papers to date centre on his research interest, which is reproduction efficacy in cows. He also has papers on endometriosis and other diseases of cattle affecting fertility. I have no idea why he would wade into this topic! I suggest an actual expert on palmitic acid, such as Dr. Marion Nestle at foodpolitics.com, who also is an expert on the relationship between industry funding and nutrition/scientific research, might be more useful. Her March 4 blog is on the so-called “Buttergate.” Very simply: palmitic acid=saturated fat; more saturated fat=harder butter (or any fat/oil)….

    • M. Gale Smith March 4, 2021 at 3:55 pm #

      I think what you are pointing out is that with any controversial issue there are bound to be various perspectives so it is important to examine closely all points of view before deciding what to believe.

  3. Randal Oulton March 5, 2021 at 9:07 am #

    “He received research funding from Dairy Farmers of Ontario in 2013, and from Dairy Farmers of Canada from 2012 to 2016.”

    I am glad that he acknowledges his financial ties with the Canadian dairy industry. Typically, when you see someone racing to defend dairy in Canada, there are undisclosed vested financial interests behind that defence that they somehow forget to mention. I always ask, and they inevitably get shirty and offended that I dared to ask about a trivial and distasteful matter such as “money”. And inevitably, the answer turns out to be “yes.”

  4. M. Gale Smith March 5, 2021 at 12:39 pm #

    There are so many stakeholders in this discussion. Here is what the Organic Council has to say –
    https://www.organiccouncil.ca/getting-to-the-bottom-of-palm-oil-use-in-dairy-production/

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