Dairy Staters wants the freedom to buy Irish butter

There’s rebellion brewing again in Wisconsin. Some people want their Irish butter.

You can’t buy Irish butter in Wisconsin because a state law requires butter to be graded for texture and quality through a federal or state system.

That leaves Irish butter — particularly Kerrygold — off store shelves.

So Wisconsinites are heading for the border, the Chicago Tribune reports today.

“You can go over the border into Illinois or Minnesota and (buy Kerrygold),” Julie Rider, who lives near Kerrygoldless Green Bay. “The dairy industry has a stranglehold on our legislators.”

One Milwaukee woman, Sharon O’Neill, was inspired in recent days to create an online petition, calling on legislators to loosen the butter restrictions.

“This is butter, for Pete’s sake,” she said. Though a lifelong Wisconsin resident, O’Neill said she’d never heard of the law until recently and has started noticing Kerrygold disappearing from local store shelves.

She and her friends have started hoarding the product when they can find it, and plan to cross state lines to get more.

“I have a friend who has eight pounds in her freezer,” she said. “I just bought six.”

State officials say they’re trying to work out an arrangement to allow foreign butter into the state, and deny there’s any concerted effort to hunt down the invaders.

“We’re not a butter hit squad,” a regulator said.

Nonetheless, Wisconsin is protective of its butter.

In 2011, an effort failed to repeal a law that bans restaurants from substituting margarine for butter without a specific request to do so. In the state’s prisons, schools, and hospitals, margarine may not be substituted for butter, the Tribune says.

Old laws prohibiting margarine from being colored to look like butter were repealed years ago.