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food / travel

Doesn't The EU Have Anything *Butter* To Do?

The Czech answer to butter
The Czech answer to butter
Dietrich Alexander

The Luxemburg-based European Court of Justice ruled this week a product the Czechs call butter is not butter, which means that the beloved spread known as "pomazankove maslo" (“spreadable butter”) can no longer be labeled as such.

Non-Czechs would never have called it butter, which it bears no resemblance to – it doesn’t even really look like margarine. As chives, horseradish and paprika are often added to it, many would argue it was more like cream cheese.

But butter purists will be happy to learn the discussion is now moot, at least in the EU, because officially butter now has to contain at least 80% milk fat while the Czech spread doesn’t even contain 30% – the rest is sour cream and milk powder.

To say that the Czechs are not amused is an understatement: their take on the low-cost spread that has been produced since 1977 is that it is a "regional specialty." On average, every Czech consumes a kilo of it annually. Some 10,000 tons of it are produced every year – big business that the Bohemian-Moravian Dairy Product Association now perceives as threatened.

So now after years of legal wrangling with Brussels, it’s going to have to come up for a new name for the product -- "mlecna pomazanka," perhaps: it sounds similar to the old name and means something akin to “milk spread.”

Czech patriots, meanwhile, see the legal defeat as Czech culture being sold down the river to Brussels.

And their travails don’t end there. There’s also the matter of Czech rum distilled from grain and not -- as EU bureaucrats demand for the protected designation that is rum -- sugar cane.

No more "Tuzemsky Rum" is to be seen at liquor stores in the Czech Republic: only "Tuzemak."

These legalities "take bureaucracy to new heights,” one irate Czech citizen commented on the Internet. "The EU concerns itself with nonsense," grumbled another.

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Influencer Union? The Next Labor Rights Battle May Be For Social Media Creators

With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor.

​photograph of a smartphone on a selfie stick

Smartphone on a selfie stick

Steve Gale/Unsplash
David Craig and Stuart Cunningham

Hollywood writers and actors recently proved that they could go toe-to-toe with powerful media conglomerates. After going on strike in the summer of 2023, they secured better pay, more transparency from streaming services and safeguards from having their work exploited or replaced by artificial intelligence.

But the future of entertainment extends well beyond Hollywood. Social media creators – otherwise known as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers, vloggers and live streamers – entertain and inform a vast portion of the planet.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

For the past decade, we’ve mapped the contours and dimensions of the global social media entertainment industry. Unlike their Hollywood counterparts, these creators struggle to be seen as entertainers worthy of basic labor protections.

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