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HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF MARGARINE
Margarine was patented and ﬁrst manufactured in 1869 by Hippolyte Mege Mou-
ries, a French chemist. The product was developed to meet butter shortages caused
by the increasing urban population during the Industrial Revolution, as well as the
need for a table spread with satisfactory keeping quality for the armed forces. The
original process was designed to imitate production of butter fat by the cow. Fresh
tallow was subjected to a low-temperature rendering with artiﬁcial gastric juice
and slowly cooled to approximately 26C (80F) to partially crystallize the fat.
The olein, a soft yellow semiﬂuid fraction obtained in about 60% yield, was then
dispersed in skim milk along with cow udder tissue. The emulsion was agitated for
several hours and cold water was added to the churn, causing the fat to solidify. The
water was drained, and the granular mass that remained was kneaded and salted.
During the late nineteenth century, some margarines were prepared from lard or
unfractionated beef suet to which liquid oils such as cottonseed or peanut were
added to reduce the melting point of the blend. In the early 1900s, some 100%
vegetable oil margarines were formulated with coconut and palm-kernel oils.
Examples of these blends and the early margarine manufacturing processes are
described by Clayton (8). Although hydrogenation came into practice around
1910, particularly in Europe, it was not used extensively in U.S. margarine manu-
facture until the 1930s. At that time the use of lauric oils became politically unpop-
ular and tariffs were imposed.
In addition to the use of new oils, signiﬁcant advances were made in the man-
ufacturing process. Peptic digestion of fat and the use of udder extracts soon were
abandoned. Pasteurization allowed the milk to be cultured in order to develop a
more buttery ﬂavor. The invention of dry chilling using a metal drum containing
circulating brine resulted in improved cleanliness and reduced fat and milk losses.
Regardless of whether ice or a chill roll was used, however, the product still had to
be worked subsequently to achieve consistency. It was not until about 1940 that the
ﬁrst closed continuous systems were used for margarine manufacture.
Legislation has played an important role in the evolution of margarine. When the
product was introduced in the United States in 1874, dairy farming was expanding
more rapidly than the needs of the population. Hostility from the large number of
dairy farmers set the tone for almost a century of antimargarine legislation and taxa-
tion of the lower priced spread. Adulteration of butter with margarine, and later the
use of imported tropical oils, also added to the call for government intervention.
The ﬁrst tax was levied in 1886, and in 1902 a much more severe tax and produ-
cer-licensing fees were imposed on colored margarine. Many states also passed
laws prohibiting the sale of colored margarine. In 1941, margarine gained recogni-
tion as a food in itself with the adoption of a Federal Standard of Identity that
deﬁned the product and provided for vitamin fortiﬁcation. In response to both pub-
lic pressure generated by high butter prices following World War II and expanding
soybean and cottonseed oil farming interests, federal taxes were abolished by the
Margarine Act of 1950. This legislation also stipulated that the product could not be
sold at retail in units greater than 0.4536 kg (1 lb). Most states were quick to follow
the lead of the federal government. However, it was 1967 before Wisconsin became
the last state to repeal a law prohibiting colored margarine, and the ﬁnal state mar-
garine tax was repealed by Minnesota in 1975.
Standard of Identity
There are two standards of identity for margarine in the United States. Vegetable oil
margarines are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and animal
fat and animal–vegetable margarines are subject to federal meat inspection regula-
tions of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The standards are
similar but not identical. The FDA standard was revised in 1973 (9) and the
USDA standard in 1983 (10) to conform more closely to the international standard
as adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization
Codex Alimentarius Commission. In 1993, a new Codex standard for fat spreads
was proposed by the commission. Finalization of this standard, which includes mar-
garine, butter, and lower fat spreads, is not expected for several years. The follow-
ing is the current FDA standard (11) including recent revisions allowing the use of
marine oils (12) and removing previous emulsiﬁer restrictions (13):
(a) Margarine (or oleomargarine) is the food in plastic form or liquid emulsion,
containing not less than 80 percent fat determined by the method prescribed
in ‘‘Ofﬁcial Methods of Analysis of the Association of Ofﬁcial Analytical
Chemists,’’ 13th Ed. (1980), section 16.206, ‘‘Indirect Method,’’ under the
heading ‘‘Fat —Ofﬁcial Final Action,’’ which is incorporated by
reference. Copies may be obtained from the Association of Ofﬁcial Analy-
tical Chemists, 2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22201-3301, or
may be examined at the Ofﬁce of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol
Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC 2001. Margarine contains only safe
and suitable ingredients as deﬁned in section 130.3(d) of this chapter. It is
produced from one or more of the optional ingredients in paragraph (a)(1) of
this section, and one or more of the optional ingredients in paragraph (a)(2)
of this section, to which may be added one or more of the optional
ingredients in paragraph (b) of this section. Margarine contains vitamin A
as provided for in paragraph (a)(3) of this section.
(1) Edible fats and/or oils, or mixtures of these, whose origin is vegetable or
rendered animal carcass fats or any form of oil from a marine species
that has been afﬁrmed as GRAS or listed as a food additive for this use,
any or all of which may have been subjected to an accepted process of
physico-chemical modiﬁcation. They may contain small amounts of
other lipids such as phosphatides, or unsaponiﬁable constituents and of
free fatty acids naturally present in the fat or oil.
(2) One or more of the following aqueous phase ingredients:
(i) Water and/or milk and/or milk products.
(ii) Suitable edible protein including, but not limited to, the liquid,
condensed, or dry form of whey, whey modiﬁed by the reduction of
lactose and/or minerals, nonlactose containing whey components,
albumin, casein, caseinate, vegetable proteins, or soy protein
isolate, in amounts not greater than reasonably required to accom-
plish the desired effect.
(iii) Any mixture of two or more of the articles named under paragraphs
(a)(2) (i) and (ii) of this section.
(iv) The ingredients in paragraphs (a)(2) (i), (ii), and (iii) of this section
shall be pasteurized and then may be subjected to the action of
harmless bacterial starters. One or more of the articles designated in
paragraphs (a)(2) (i), (ii), and (iii) of this section is intimately
mixed with the edible fat and/or ingredients to form a solidiﬁed or
(3) Vitamin A in such quantity that the ﬁnished margarine contains not less
than 15,000 international units per pound.
(b) Optional ingredients:
(1) Vitamin D in such quantity that the ﬁnished oleomargarine contains not
less than 1,500 international units of vitamin D per pound.
(2) Salt (sodium chloride); potassium chloride for dietary margarine or
(3) Nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners.
(5) Preservatives including but not limited to the following within these
maximum amounts in percent by weight of the ﬁnished food: Sorbic
acid, benzoic acid and their sodium, potassium, and calcium salts,
individually, 0.1 percent, or in combination, 0.2 percent, expressed as
the acids; calcium disodium EDTA, 0.0075 percent; propyl, octyl, and
dodecyl gallates, BHT, BHA, ascorbyl palmitate, ascorbyl stearate, all
individually or in combination, 0.02 percent; stearyl citrate, 0.15
percent; isopropyl citrate mixture, 0.02 percent.
(6) Color additives. For the purpose of this subparagraph, provitamin A
(beta-carotene) shall be deemed to be a color additive.
(7) Flavoring substances. If the ﬂavoring ingredients impart to the food a
ﬂavor other than in semblance of butter, the characterizing ﬂavor shall be
declared as part of the name of the food in accordance with section
101.22 of this chapter.
(c) The name of the food for which a deﬁnition and standard of identity are
prescribed in this section is ‘‘margarine’’,or‘‘oleomargarine’’.
(d) Label declaration. Each of the ingredients used in the food shall be declared
on the label as required by the applicable sections of parts 101 and 130 of
this chapter. For the purposes of this section the use of the term ‘‘milk’’