JEFFERSON CITY - Think twice before you grab that margarine from the store shelf -- you're purchasing an illegal substance.
Due to several provisions passed starting in the late 1800s, the sale of certain types of imitation butter were banned from being sold in Missouri stores.
But anyone who has been to the grocery store this century knows these laws have been all but ignored as tubs of Brummel & Brown, Fleischmann's, and Country Crock glisten under florescent lights.
Now, for the second year in a row, Rep. Sara Lampe, R-Springfield, is introducing a bill to repeal the previous legislation, saying it is out of date, written at a time when Missouri's dairy industry felt threatened by the substitute.
Lampe said the inspiration for the bill came after sending out a letter to constituents asking what type of laws they wanted to see.
"Overwhelmingly, the response was, 'We have too many laws, we'd like to see you take some off the books,'" Lampe said.
Lampe said when she came across the butter law, she thought it has served its time and ready to come off the books.
"But it takes a law to remove a law," Lampe said.
The current law has a fine of anywhere from $50 to $100 for anyone caught selling yellow margarine.
"We called the Department of Agriculture and asked if they'd enforced it anytime recently and they said absolutely not. Most people there didn't even know it was on the books," Lampe said.
Rick Johnson, the dairy manager of the Hy-Vee in Jefferson City, said two-thirds of their butter section is actually margarine and nobody has raised any questions.
Although repeal of the law would seem to be non-controversial, the issue made no progress in the House in the 2009 legislative session.