State Rep. Sara Lampe, D-Springfield, announced today that she “will file a bill to repeal several obsolete and universally ignored provisions of Missouri law dating to the 1890s that restrict the manufacture and sale of imitation butter and in some instances make producing, selling or even possessing such products a crime.”
Among the actions that are illegal under Missouri’s butter laws:
· Manufacturing or selling imitation butter that is yellow (RSMo. 196.755). Virtually all imitation butter sold today is yellow.
· Using the word “butter” in connection to selling or advertising any butter substitute (RSMo. 196.725). Many popular brands, such as “I Can’t Believe It’s not Butter,” run afoul of this section.
· Failing to label packaging for imitation butter with the words “substitute for butter” in Roman type that is at least one inch in length and one-half inch in width (RSMo. 196.760). A spot check of various brands at any supermarket will reveal that none are so labeled.
· Possessing imitation butter that isn’t properly marked, except when possessed for personal consumption (RSMo. 196.780).
Violations of most of the above provisions a carry maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $100 fine for a first offense, with the penalties for subsequent offenses increasing to up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. The exception is RSMo. 196.725, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $100 fine.