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The Butter Controversy

March 10, 2011

There is a bit of debate on the internet amongst self-sufficiency types.   That is, is “canning” or preserving butter safe?   Although I still tend to follow USDA and state extension service guidelines in general, I am becoming rather less trustful in all their “don’t do it!” statements.    This is so in the case of preserving butter.  After doing a fair bit of research about it, and botulism in general, I’m just not convinced that it is a truly risky thing.   There are too many riskier foods (like asparagus, and vegetables in general, which were implicated in the vast majority of non-Alaskan native food-borne botulism cases between 1990 -2000,  CDC, Foodborne Botulism in the United States, 1990 -2000 ) that we’re not told to stop preserving,  so I think items that have far fewer chances of coming into contact with botulism spores will be safe.

Also, it’s been a long time coming for me, but I’m finally coming around to the belief that if people in the UK and Europe, and Amish people in the US are doing things and have been doing things for generations, with few if any cases of botulism among them,  then maybe it is worth looking at what they do.

Finally, there is a lot of difference between “it’s not been proven to be safe” and “it’s been proven to be not safe.”

I’m not trying to tell people to can butter, but for me, I’m coming to believe that it is a safe thing to do, if done conscienciously and carefully.

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