Flame Retardants Found In Butter

I can’t believe it’s not butter! Well, it’s not. It’s flame retardant, and food researchers found it inside butter they bought from the supermarket.

The polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, are found in gadgets and insulation, and have been shown to be harmful to humans.

The chemical appears to have entered the butter through the wrapper.

“Flame retardants were not made to be eaten. They’re made to slow down the smoke in fires. They’re not a food component. They don’t belong there,” said researcher Schecter. “Either the paper was contaminated before it reached the butter factory, or somehow it managed to get contaminated at the factory itself.”

Only one stick of butter out of the 10 purchased during the test was found to have the extremely high levels of the chemical.

The study’s authors said the butter came from a large, well-known Midwestern company, but wouldn’t identify which one. Both the researchers and the National Milk Producers Federation noted the limited scope of the test and recommended further investigation before drawing overarching conclusions.

Contamination of U.S. Butter with PBDEs from Wrapping Paper (Abstract) (PDF)
Study: Flame retardant found in small butter sample [CNN] (Thanks to Shawna!)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.