pantry of most Australian homes. The remaining <1% is the preservatives to keep MeadowLea tasting fresh. MeadowLea also states on its packaging that it contains No Artificial Colours & Flavours.
Margarine processing is necessary to ensure the natural canola and sunflower oils are combined with other ingredients such as milk, water and salt to develop a smooth consistency for spreading.
In fact, there is only one additional step for making margarine versus the process to make butter. This is the upfront step of extracting the oil from seeds.
The Dietitians Association of Australia has an evidence based position statement to refute the persistent myth that margarine causes age related macular degeneration. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that vegetable oils such as canola or sunflower oil, or margarines made from vegetable oils (canola or sunflower oils) are associated with an increased risk of developing blindness or macular degeneration.
You may have seen in the media in recent years some discussion on the topic of macular degeneration and the suggested links to consumption of margarine and vegetable oils.
This was a misrepresentation of information incorrectly extracted from an overseas research study. This viewpoint is not supported by reputable health agencies in Australia, including the leading society on this topic, the Macular Degeneration Foundation.
A visit to the Macular Degeneration Foundation website will confirm that there is no reference to the consumption of margarine, vegetable oil, nor canola or sunflower oil as a risk factor to developing the disease.
This misconception has come because of the technical definition of ‘plasticity’ which scientists use to describe the physical characteristics of a substance. It refers to any substance that can be moulded or shaped when pressure is applied.
In other words, both butter and margarine show ‘plasticity’ in terms of how they can be shaped but it does not mean that they are plastic nor does it mean that their molecular composition is similar to plastic in any way.
In fact most of the ingredients in margarine are from natural sources.
MeadowLea was a leader in reducing trans fat in table margarines in 1996. Now all margarine spreads are ‘virtually free of trans fats’ (contains less than 1% trans fatty acids). Butter on the other hand contains 3% - 4% trans fats. Trans fats are found in natural sources such as meats, milk and cheese.
Saturated fat is the key issue in Australian Diets. Saturated fat is the unhealthy fat which comes mainly from animal products. This is one of the key reasons why health organisations such as the Heart Foundation and CSIRO recommend using Margarine Spreads over Butter.