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Sweden safe while butter shortage hits Norway

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16:29 CET+01:00
While Norway is reeling from a severe butter shortage, causing some to try to smuggle the stuff in across the border and others make a killing on the black market, Swedes can relax in the knowledge that their Christmas baking is safe.

Many Norwegians who live close to Sweden do their grocery shopping across the border where prices are lower, but to import butter has proven more difficult.

"They (Norway) have, as we see it, very restrictive trading politics, borderline protectionist," Jonas Carlberg at the Swedish Dairy Association (Svensk Mjölk) told daily Dagens Nyheter, adding that the high custom duty is a way to protect domestic production in Norway.

But the shortage has made people turn to desperate measures, according to news agency TT.

A Russian man was caught on Friday trying to bring 90 kilogrammes of butter over the Swedish border to Norway without paying the custom duty.

And the emerging black market is making some attempt to make some well-needed money before Christmas by auctioning out their butter online.

"I want 800 kronor, at least. Then I can give 400 kronor to each of my children's sports teams," one would-be butter vendor, Tove Li, told Norwegian paper Verdens Gang (VG).

"I've seen an ad where they wanted 5,000 kronor ($740) for a box of butter."

But the black market butter isn't just draining consumers of money, it might also be a health hazard, according to Atle Wold at the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

"Food should be purchased from professional and safe vendors, not in a private environment," Wold told VG.

However, despite the autumn's Scandinavian butter shortage still causing Norway trouble, Swedes don't have to fear another deficit scuppering their Christmas baking.

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Due to an increased import, the butter situation is Sweden is currently under control.

"We aren't expecting any Swedish shortages before Christmas, it should remain stable," Carlberg told TT.

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