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Is Margarine a Dairy Product?

 Is margarine considered a dairy product?

 We don't consider it a dairy product, although it is sold alongside butter, cheese, and many other dairy products in most supermarkets. We remain fairly rigid in the assertion that dairy products are milk and foods made from milk.

The original margarine was made with beef fat and there are still margarines on the market that are made of animal fats, yet even that proximity does not cause us to lump it into the dairy category. (Most margarine is made of vegetable fats.) There are margarines that include modest amounts of skim milk among their ingredients, so there is a dairy aspect to some margarines.

We are not aware of an overarching agency or entity that classifies all foods as strictly as some of our readers want them classified (although if there is one, it is probably the European Union, which loves to categorize things). If we had to commit, we say that margarine fits into the fats category – that's certainly where it is with regard to the food pyramid.

Even if it has a little skim milk, it's still not a dairy product. Many foods include some milk – Gruyère Quiche with Golden Onion and Red Pepper, Gratin Dauphinois, Devil's Food Cake, and croissants, just to name a few – but we don't think of them as dairy foods.

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