How margarine is made: Step 1

Margarine makers start with cheap. poor quality vegetable oils, such as corn, cottonseed, soybeans, safflower seeds and canola.

These oils have already turned rancid from being extracted from oil seeds using high temperature and high pressure. Rancid oils are loaded with free radicals that react easily with other molecules, causing cell damage, premature aging and a host of other problems.

The last bit of oil is removed with hexane, a solvent known to cause cancer. Although this hexane is subsequently removed, traces of it are inevitably left behind.

Step 2

The raw oils for making margarine are steam cleaned. This destroys all the vitamins and antioxidants.

However, the residues of pesticides and solvents that is, hexane remain.

Step 3

The oils are mixed with finely ground nickel, a highly toxic substance that serves as a catalyst for the chemical reaction during the hydrogenation process.

Other catalysts may be used, but these, too, are highly toxic.

Step 4

The oils are then put under high temperature and pressure in a reactor.

Hydrogen gas is introduced. The high temperature and pressure, together with the presence of the nickel catalyst, causes hydrogen atoms to be forced into the oil molecules.

Step 5

What comes out of the partial hydrogenation process is a smelly, lumpy, grey grease.

To remove the lumps, emulsifiers which are like soaps are mixed in.

Step 6

The oil is steam cleaned (again!) to remove the odor of chemicals. This step is called deodorization and it again involves high temperature and high pressure.

Step 7

The oil is then bleached to get rid of the grey color.

Step 8

Synthetic vitamins and artificial flavors are mixed in.

A natural yellow color is added to margarine, as synthetic coloring is not allowed.

In fact, early last century, all coloring was not allowed and margarine was white. This was to protect consumers so that they did not get butter and margarine mixed up.

Step 9

Finally, the margarine is promoted to the public as a health food with the full endorsement of many scientists, doctors, nutritionists, the AMA, the FDA and other health authorities.