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A Leak at a Dairy Plant Turned France’s Prettiest River into a Massive Butter Slick

An accident at a Quimper dairy manufacturer this week saw hundreds of kilos of butter pumped into the Odet, described by tourist guides as the “prettiest river in France.”
Phoebe Hurst
London, GB
Photo via Flickr user Jessica Merz

Oh butter, you've always been our favourite dairy product. We stuck by you when everyone else was freaking out about cholesterol and pretending soybean oil tasted just as good. We ignored attempts by the Danish butter industry to sully your name (traitors). We rejoice with every new study showing the health benefits of animal fats.

But we're not sure if we can condone your latest escapade. Polluting scenic bodies of water just isn't cool, no matter how delicious you taste smeared over hot crumpets.


READ MORE: Why Was Data Proving That Butter Isn't Bad for You Hidden Away for Decades?

Earlier this week, an industrial accident at France's second largest butter manufacturer saw one of the country's most picturesque rivers turned into a massive butter slick.

As French news site The Local reports, an unspecified "accident" at the Beuralia dairy plant in Quimper led to hundreds of kilos of butter leaking into the Odet—a 62 metre river that runs across western France, flowing down from the Montagnes Noires through country chateaux and picturesque countryside. Also popular with kayakers and boat trippers, the Odet is described by tourist guides as the "prettiest river in the whole of France."

Not any more. Photos uploaded to Twitter show lumps of dairy now floating in sections of the river close to the plant, prompting one user to dub the spillage a "very Breton problem" in reference to the region's famed dairy output. Breton butter is known for its uniquely creamy taste, something producers say is down to the rich grazing pastures of their cattle.

Pollution à Quimper. Du beurre dans l'Odet

— Ouest-France (@OuestFrance) April 12, 2016

It's not the first dairy spillage to hit France. Last year, traffic on the country's A11 motorway was drawn to a halt after a truck transporting 20 tons of mayonnaise caught fire and emptied, turning the road into an oversized, condiment-themed Slip 'N Slide.

Local media reports that firefighters are investigating the cause of the leak at the Beuralia plant and have closed off a sluice gate that flows into the river. In the meantime, kayaking enthusiasts in Western France may want to consider making up some bread baskets.