The color of butter may vary from a light creamy white to a dark creamy yellow or orange yellow. Differences in butter color are due to variations in the color of the butter fat, which is affected by the cows' feed and season of the year; variations in the size of the fat globule; presence or absence of salt; conditions of working the butter; and the type and amount of natural coloring added.

Butter colorings are oil soluble and most often are natural annatto, an extraction of the seeds of the tropical tree Bixa orellana, or natural carotenes, extractions from various carotene-rich plants. Because they are oil soluble, colorings are added to the cream to obtain the most uniform dispersion.

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