AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) Butter, which is found in almost every pantry in the Western world, has been branded as deadly as cigarettes and should carry a similar health warning, researchers in New Zealand said Saturday.
The Auckland University medical researchers said butter is as dangerous to the human heart as cigarettes and want shoppers constantly reminded of that fact.
Rod Jackson, associate professor of epidemiology at Auckland University Medical School, said a diet high in saturated fats such as butter and other dairy products has made New Zealand among the top 10 nations in the world for occurrence of heart disease.
"I believe butter should have health warnings on the packets telling people they are risking heart attacks," Jackson said.
"It should be treated like a cigar only taken once a year at Christmas."
Dairy farmers immediately branded the warning idea a ridiculous scare tactic.
"There's nothing wrong with butter in moderation. If you listened to everything these health experts said, you wouldn't go outside," said Federated Farmers' spokesman Kevin Wooding.
Farmers' lobby president Malcolm Bailey said the evidence against butter was "flimsy and misleading," and that butter also contained "life-enhancing properties."
People who enjoyed butter should not be deterred from using it by the "intolerant few" who don't, Bailey said.
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