Grass-fed cows' bright yellow butter and questions about food coloring
The grass-fed cows' butter I tasted recently was sunny yellow due to natural carotene content.
Now, I've seen some very yellow butter, good quality butter and otherwise. (Similar quality variation for creamy white butter.) There is supposed to be seasonal color variation as well.
I understand butter is regularly dyed with food coloring. And margarine, too. I haven't paid too much attention to this fact before.
Now I am wondering about the extent of this food coloring practice.
Your thoughts, please.
It is a very old practice. My grandmother made her own butter with raw milk and it was almost white most of the year. It freaked me out as a kid even after she explained that the color of dairy products was based on the diet of the cow and it wasn't flower season yet.
It used to be very traditional to color butter "on the farm" for exactly this reason...
Butter, like cheese and ice cream, enjoys an exception to the labeling rules for food additives. Remember that lots of food colorings are completely natural, carotene included. It could be added to the butter from grass-fed cows year-round to maintain a consistency of color. Many people now are just not aware of the seasonal changes in the color of things like butter and egg yolks so farmers add things to affect products.
For more on butter and margarine coloring regulations, some interesting references: http://www.slate.com/id/2161806/sideb...