Oct 23, 2006
And you thought Brussels was crazy for banning bananas that were too curved, for forcing manufacturers to relabel brandy butter as “modified distilled wine spreadable fat product”, and for limiting pizzas to an eleven-inch standardised diameter only! Now, the US is searching Aussies coming into the country to make sure they’re not bringing that most infamous of products with them – Vegemite!
According to News.com.au, the iconic spreadable brown stuff in a jar is faithfully carried around the world by travellers from down under. But, a legal technicality in the US means that only breads and cereals are allowed to contain added folic acid (aka folate or vitamin B9), so Vegemite has become hot outlaw property.
A spokeswoman for the manfacturer Kraft, Joanna Scott said: “The (US) Food and Drug Administration doesn’t allow the import of Vegemite simply because the recipe does have the addition of folic acid.” She added that the US is actually only “a minor market” for Vegemite.
Presumably, the reason the folate law exists is to prevent manufacturers of other products from cashing in on folate health publicity surrounding folic acid and campaigns aimed at women hoping to get pregnant but reduce the risk of their child having spina bifida. But, Vegemite, Australians will tell you, is almost as old as toast itself. Its certainly something most will be very reluctant to give up in the final count. If the “ban” persists one can anticipate a rather rapid decline in quality bar staff across the US, especially among those who can mix a Singapore sling and play the digeridoo. Or, maybe the whole story is simply a PR campaign in itself aimed at boosting the Vegemite share price and Aussie bar staff will be able to cope just fine!