Dairy State Bans Kerrygold Butter
By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
April / May 2017
There was statewide outcry in Wisconsin when much-loved Irish butter brand Kerrygold was outlawed at the end of February, due to a 1970 law that dictates all butter sold there must be subject to scrutiny by a panel of experts, who ruled that the grass-fed dairy cows used by the brand were noncompliant with their regulations. The ban, which shopkeepers will face a $1000 fine and six months jail time for flouting, means that many Wisconsin residents must now cross state borders in order to stock up on their favorite kitchen staple.
The conundrum even inspired one Milwaukee woman, Sharon O’Neill, to create an online petition, “Repeal the butter law, Wisconsin!” which calls on legislators to loosen the Kerrygold restrictions. “This is butter, for Pete’s sake,” she told the Chicago Tribune, and revealed that she and others have begun hoarding the product when they can find it. “I have a friend with eight pounds in her freezer. I just bought six.”
The law, which was put into place to protect Wisconsin’s nationally renowned dairy industry, does not target any particular brand, assured administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food and Recreational Safety Steve Ingham. “We’re not trying to keep [Kerrygold] out,” he said. “There’s plenty of room in the food world. We’re not a butter hit squad.”
A spokesman for Kerrygold retailer Ornua Foods North America has released a statement confirming they are “currently working with the Wisconsin authorities on a solution.” ♦