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Regulation madness update: Wisconsin group sues to bring back 'illegal' Irish butter

Wisconsin group sues the state over butter laws. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a lawsuit on Friday against the state of Wisconsin over the state's Kerrygold butter ban.

As reported by TheBlaze last month, Wisconsin is currently the only state in the country that does not allow the sale of Kerrygold, a premium, high-quality imported butter made in Ireland. The state's stringent regulations dating back to the 1950s require any butter sold in Wisconsin to be tested and graded by a group of government-appointed experts who judge the butter based on 32 different points of quality.

Because Kerrygold butter is tested, graded and packaged in its home country of Ireland, it does not meet Wisconsin's outdated requirements. Any entity who dares to sell this black market butter could face jail time or up to $5,000 in fines.

WILL said in a press release that residents deserve the freedom to buy and sell whatever type of butter they wish and that Wisconsin's protectionist law denies residents the freedom to test whether Kerrygold's claims of producing butter coming from the "sweetest, richest milk in the world" are true.

"This archaic labeling regime prevents Wisconsin residents from enjoying very popular butters such as Kerrygold, a high-quality Irish import," the statement reads. "Wisconsin is the only state in the country with specific and onerous labeling requirements that prevent the sale of Kerrygold and other similarly produced butters."

WILL President Rick Esenberg chimed in on the matter, explaining that the law violates due process, equal protection, and free speech rights of the residents of Wisconsin. “Because the Wisconsin butter law serves no adequate government purpose, it is one of those laws that violate the due process and equal protection guarantees of the Wisconsin Constitution.  The requirement that sellers of butter engage in compelled speech – that they publicize the government’s opinion of how a butter tastes – also violates the guarantee of free speech," he said.

[graphiq id="goLDfjQDlAN" title="Butter" width="500" height="631" url="https://w.graphiq.com/w/goLDfjQDlAN" ]

Though states have the right to set their own policies, case law has a history of disallowing states to keep laws that simply "protect favored interests from the impact of those policies without a clearly defined rational basis," the press release said.

"The protectionist labeling requirements of the butter law in no way relate to health or safety concerns and therefore the state of Wisconsin has no rational basis for impeding the economic freedom of Wisconsin consumers and businesses," WILL Associate Council Jake Curtis added.

Until the case is heard, however, Wisconsin residents like Jean Smith and Amber Marzahl will have to continue traveling all the way across state lines just to purchase the high-quality butter and hope that soon freedom prevails.

One last thing…
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