Wal-Mart Raid Nets Contraband

Montreal Gazette;

Agriculture Department inspectors swooped down on four Wal-Mart stores in the Quebec City area yesterday and seized 72 plastic tubs of yellow Becel margarine with an estimated street value of $179.28.

The margarine is butter yellow, which makes it illegal for sale in Quebec.

The measure is intended to protect the province’s 3,000 dairy producers.

Andre Menard, spokesperson for acting agriculture minister Laurent Lessard, said 44 of the contraband margarine containers were seized at the Levis Wal-Mart, across the river from the capital.

Another 28 were discovered at a Wal-Mart in the borough of Beauport, he said.

“In Quebec City (proper), we think they withdrew them before we came,” Menard added.

On Thursday, Maxime Arseneau, agriculture critic for the Parti Quebecois, tabled a margarine tub in the National Assembly and charged that Unilever Canada Inc., which makes Becel, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Canada were conspiring to bring yellow margarine into the province.

(I struggled to come up with an adequate closing comment and failed.)

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Kate McMillan
About Kate McMillan
Kate McMillan is the proprietor of small dead animals, which has won numerous awards including Best Conservative Blog and Best Canadian Blog. She contributed nearly 300 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and June 2007. Follow her on Twitter @katewerk.


  1. Matt says:

    As someone who works within a few miles of the Evil Empire’s headquarters, I can assure you I will be on the case first thing tomorrow.

    Canada’s problem with yellow must stem in some way from their relation to the French.

  2. spacemonkey says:

    They didn’t take into account the street value after the margarine was cut with jelly.

  3. Lloyd says:

    Oh wow do I ever remember when Wisconsin outlawed yellow margarine for the same reason. My Dad would drive to Illinois to buy a case of the ‘real’ stuff. Sometimes my brothers and I would go along with him for the “adventure” of sticking it to the Man … 🙂

  4. Fred says:

    I grew up in a family of margarine smugglers who regularly made the Kenosha – Zion run. Most people don’t believe it when I tell them that margarine was once a controlled substance in Wisconsin.

  5. Attila Girl says:

    So, um . . . I guess the Canadian government doesn’t have much to do.

  6. DL says:

    I understand it is the spread of choice among all the leftists that leave our country in protest -but they can’t leave the margerine alone. Canadian health care systems wont pay for the necessary margarine withdrawal protocol as it averages over a year to kick the habit.
    Margarine addicts are commonly known to slip back over the border near Vancouver and Detroit for a quick fix at the local Denny’s!

  7. Lonesome says:

    May look like butter, but itsnot.

  8. John Burgess says:

    I certainly recall when Wisconsin outlawed yellow margarine. I also recall when margarine was sold in white sticks with a blog of yellow coloring matter in the middle. It was up to the consumer to blend the two into a butter-colored substance.

    Just another piece of protection legislated by those bought off by agricultural interests… nothing to see here; just move along.

  9. C.Wagener says:

    Interesting that this still goes on. In the 1920’s and 30’s my grandfather operated the Buttergilt in Maumee, Ohio. The business made yellow food coloring packets that were sold in margarine containers. People had to turn it yellow in the privacy of their own homes.

  10. David says:

    I don’t know if they still do it, but Minnesota had this same foolishness in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. The dairy lobby in MN was very powerful, and the price of dairy products was set by a state board. Of course the prices were kept artificially high to “protect” state dairy producers from “unfair competition.” The net effect was a tax on MN consumers who had the privilege of paying the highest prices for dairy products in the nation.

    The fact that it was hurting MN consumers, such as my working-class family, was ignored. The predictable result was margerine smugglers. One of our neighbors was a traveling salesman who had a route that took him into nearby states that allowed the unregulated sale of margerine. Mr. Ray Bunger would supplement his income by smuggling margerine and selling it a markup that was still competitive with the butter that no working class family could afford.

    The MN law did allow margerine to be sold, but “to protect the MN consumer” it could not be “adultered,” i.e., it could not have color added. Uncolored margerine looked like lard, which was quite off-putting. To solve the problem, uncolored margerine was sold in a one pound sealed bag that contained a dye capsule. You would warm the margerine package with your hands to a dough-like consistency, then crush the capsule and knead the dye through the margerine to give it an even, sunny color. When we were kids, my siblings would all fight over the new margerine package for the right to color it.

    You might be aware that the MN Democratic party is actually called the “DFL” or Democratic Farmer-Labor party, and is one of the most left-leaning of all state Democratic parties. I’m sure that the farm lobby is still very powerful in MN. My mother is a life-long, knee-jerk Democrat, but even she used to rage about the MN dairy board and the harm that it it did to a family of five kids trying to make it on a trucker’s earnings. You gotta love the Democratic party looking out for the little guy.

  11. Kent says:

    The Agricultural Department: We put the duh in Canada.

  12. McGehee says:

    Let them eat blue margarine.