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Food made from one or more vegetable or animal fats or oils mixed with milk and other ingredients. It is used in cooking and as a spread as a substitute for butter. Margarine was developed by the French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès in the late 1860s. The fats used have varied widely; polyunsaturated oils such as corn, canola, and sunflower oil, considered more healthful than saturated fats, are common today.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on margarine, visit Britannica.com.