Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Crisis Averted

From :
AUSTRALIANS travelling to the US can breathe easy. So can the 100,000 or so Australian expatriates living in America.

The US government today dismissed media reports it had banned Vegemite.

"There is no ban on Vegemite," US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spokesman Mike Herndon said.

Media reports at the weekend claimed American border officials were confiscating Vegemite from Australians as they entered the US.

The FDA, charged with policing America's food supply, has not issued an "import alert" to border officials to halt the import of Vegemite.

Mr Herndon said the FDA was surprised by the media reports.

The controversy centres on folate, an ingredient in Vegemite.

Under US regulations, folate can be added only to breads and cereals.

"One of the Vitamin B components (in Vegemite) is folate," Mr Herndon said.

"In and of itself, it's not a violation. If they're adding folate to it, boosting it up, technically it would be a violation.

"But the FDA has not targeted it and I don't think we intend to target Vegemite simply because of that."

Joanna Scott, spokesperson for Vegemite's maker, Kraft, reportedly has said, "The Food and Drug Administration doesn't allow the import of Vegemite simply because the recipe does have the addition of folic acid".

But Mr Herndon said, "Nobody at the FDA has told them (Kraft) there is a ban".

To eradicate any grey areas or potential regulation breaches, Mr Herndon said, Kraft could petition the FDA, something other food manufacturers have done.

While many Aussies living in the US rely on visiting Australian relatives and friends to bring them a jar or two of Vegemite from Australia, the product is available in some US supermarkets.

The price slapped on Vegemite, however, is tough to swallow.

A tiny, four ounce jar of Vegemite sells for around $US4.80 ($6.33) in US supermarkets.

But from a comment on a previous thread, by my good friend, Scotty :
was forwarded this yesterday and I looked on the shelves of a new snooty grocery shop, hoping to get a jar of Vegemite before it ran out, and I was greated by only Marmite. I was very sad. The Vegemite was gone.

The Vegemite was gone.


Calamity Jane said...

Curses! My evil plan to convert the world to Marmite has failed!! Oh well there's still PG Tips Mwuahahahahahahah hack hack cough snuffle

Anonymous said...

I hope you realize that vegemite was created by a chemist after marmite supplies to oz were interrupted during the war (forget which one). I'm afraid its a poor substitute for the real thing.

Zoe Brain said...

I agree that Vegemite is a poor substitute for Marmite - much as Chateau Lafitte Mouton Rothschild is a poor substitute for Tizer.

At one point in time (which Australians would like to pretend never happened), Vegemite was marketed in Queensland under a different name. Parwill.

On the grounds that Marmite.

True story, I'm afraid.