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The Schmeer of all Fears

A century ago American society was grappling with a social problem - the threat of a substance that the governor of Minnesota said had been created by "the ingenuity of depraved human genius." Some states punished by fines and imprisonment the manufacture, sale or possession of this substance. The federal government levied a "sin" tax on it. Only after federal and state legislation and congressional hearings in 1950 did the government finally free this product from restrictive controls. "Was it cocaine? Marijuana? Alcohol? Tobacco? No. It was margarine." The National Dairy Union's lobbyists had successfully launched a campaign to see margarine as a dangerous substance needing restriction.

- Martin E. Marty in Context, September 15, 1990, pp. 3-4.