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The Butter Chronicles: Norway Comes Up Short

Norway is in the midst of a butter shortage. Yes, butter.

There are a few explanations: low-carb diets have been popular, and the summer of 2011 wasn’t ideal for dairy. Olav Mellingsater for CNN writes:

A rainy summer reduced the quality of animal feed, decreasing milk production in Norway this year by 20 million liters (5.3 million gallons) compared with the same period last year, the cooperative said.

Stores are currently rationing butter sales, and some entrepreneurial spirits are selling butter online at 30 times the normal cost. There are also some gray market characters emerging from the crisis. CNN reports:

Authorities detained a Russian citizen Monday who they said was trying to smuggle 90 kilograms (200 pounds) of butter from Germany into Norway. Food safety authorities then warned people not to buy butter from strangers, Norway’s TV2 reported.

Norway is just a ferry ride from Denmark, home of a new saturated fat tax, and also a top dairy producer in Europe. Since Norway does not belong to the European Union, Danish dairy would come with high import taxes.

ADDENDUM: As a result of the butter shortage, the Norwegian government slashed these tariffs this week. Also, we incorrectly stated that Denmark was the top dairy producer in Europe. Germany and France are the largest dairy-producing countries within the EU.