I've always preferred real butter over margarine. In our house, we keep a butter dish with one stick of real butter in the cupboard. Over the last couple of years, I've noticed that the butter in the dish doesn't get as soft at room temperature as it used to get.

I'm not alone in the observation that our butter is getting harder as of late. In Canada, they have referred to this unfolding situation as 'Buttergate'. There they are saying that as of late butter is even getting more difficult to melt.

And after some news coverage of butter becoming harder to melt they looked into the possible causes?

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One of the probable causes is the Palm Fat additive in the dairy cattle's feed. CBC noted that the Palm Fat additive has been used for a while in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

The BBC reported that “adding palm oil-based energy supplements to cow feed is a decades-old practice said to increase the milk output of cows and increase the milk's fat content. Little research has been done on the true impact of palm oil in dairy.”

The Dairy Farmers of Canada group has asked milk producers to temporarily stop using the Palm Fat additive until an 'expert panel' can do research on the matter.

This year food management system expert Sylvain Charlebois remarked on the industry's use of palm oil in order to augment the output of milk product saying they "are marketed as a way to increase milk output and boost fat content" but a "review by the Dairy Research and Extension Consortium of Alberta found that butter made from cows fed palm oil remains difficult to spread at room temperature.”

One of the interesting things concerning why this has become such an issue is that so many of us have noticed a difference in butter while we are baking more during our social distancing and quarantining.

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