Wisconsin group sues over butter law banning Kerrygold Irish brand

A Wisconsin group is suing the state to overturn a 1950s-era law that bans the sale of butter than hasn't been graded by official state butter tasters. The law has forced consumers to travel across state lines to buy the Kerrygold Irish brand butter. File photo by mandritoiu/Shutterstock

March 19 (UPI) — A Wisconsin group filed a lawsuit Friday in the notoriously dairy-crazed state to overturn a law banning the sale of Kerrygold Irish butter and other brands that haven’t been subjected to a rigorous rating system.

The suit, filed on behalf of several residents by the conservative group the Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty, challenges a 1954 state law that bars the sale of any butter that has not been tested and graded by official state butter tasters.

The plaintiffs are a specialty grocery store in Grafton, Wis., and four frustrated consumers who prefer the Kerrygold brand. The plaintiffs said they have to travel over state lines to purchase Kerrygold because the company doesn’t subject its product to the state’s evaluation for taste, color and texture, as determined by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The lawsuit points out the metrics tested in Wisconsin butter are a matter of consumer preference and have no bearing on product safety.

Kerrygold Irish butter is made from grass-fed cows and is a staple of the wellness program known as the Bulletproof Diet. The company is not party to the legal case.

“We’re obviously having fun with the lawsuit, but the reality is this is a serious issue in the sense that economic liberty is an aspect of civil liberty,” Jacob Curtis, an attorney for the group, told Wisconsin Public Radio. “Individuals should have the ability to make a living, to make economic decisions free of government interference, particularly if there is no rational basis for that interference.”

A spokesman for the state said enforcement of the butter law is limited to letters informing retailers they could be in violation, though it technically allows for up to a $1,000 fine or six months in jail for violators.

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