U.S. Government Sparks Australian Riot, Bans Vegemite

Reminding many Americans of the salty brown discharge of a dehydrated woman with a yeast infection than any real replacement for that prince of sandwich condiments, peanut butter, the rugged Aussie thrives on the stuff. For years, Australian ex-patriates have been mollified into joining the melting pot by regularly importing the “delicacy.”

But now, the U.S. Government is looking at a Coast-to-Coast Aussie Riot as the pink, not-so-indiginous people of God’s nightmare land begin sharpening their bowie knives to fight a national Vegemite ban. The issue is not the gooey paste’s inherent inedibility, but folate, which can only be added to breads and cereals according to the FDA.

We would advise the U.S. Government to consider reversing their ban, pronto. The average Australian shakes things out of their shoes every morning that could kill Robocop. They’re tough. Sure, they’re obnoxious, but can the U.S. Government really afford getting between them and their sannies?

US bans Vegemite [News.com.au]

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  1. John Stracke says:

    I don’t think this is the best way to get the ban reversed. If the US government gets the idea that Australians are dangerous, they’ll switching from banning vegemite to banning Australians.

  2. gypsychk says:

    I used to hate Vegemite, but it turns out I was eating it wrong (slathering a thick, peanut-butter worthy layer on a slab of toast). An Aussie set me straight: Spread a generous layer of butter on the toast, then a very thin layer of Vegemite. Turns out it’s actually quite good. Like eating a beer for breakfast.

  3. AcilletaM says:

    I’d rather have the beer.

  4. Pelagius says:

    Vegemite = great hangover food. Vegemite and Berocca help explain why the Australians can still manage to get things done despite their level of alcohol consumption. I wish I’d discovered this in college.

  5. kerry says:

    What about Vegemite’s English cousin, Marmite? I’ve known Aussies who found it easier to come by and ate that, instead. I bet they’d be pretty peeved if Marmite was banned, too.

  6. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    Well of COURSE we had to ban it in America! It might have caught on, and it has NUTRITIONAL VALUE, which is anti-business as any franchisee will tell you.

    A naturopath I used to know often recommended this stuff (eaten correctly, see above) to depressed people, since they often suffer a vitamin B deficiency, and the yeast in Vegemite/Marmite is a great source of it.

    Speaking of, what’s the FDA so worked up about anyway? So it’s not bread. It’s almost pure yeast! Isn’t that good enough?

  7. Coronagold says:

    “…the salty brown discharge of a dehydrated woman with a yeast infection…”

    I was going to come up with something witty but you stole my thunder. Kudos! :o)

    I tried marmite in 1979 in England. The fact that I can remember the year shows what an imprint it left on my tongue.

    How about marzipan? (mit iodine!)
    Or those nefarious purple Necco wafers that seduce every unsuspecting child with the anticipation of a grape delight only to gag on the bitter revelation it tastes like tarragon and ammonia. A little older, a little wiser.

  8. AcilletaM says:

    The purple ones are clove.

  9. acambras says:

    “…I said do ya speak-a my language? He just smiled and gave me a Veg-o-Mite sandwich…”

    Now I have that damn song in my head all day. Thanks a lot, Consumerist!

  10. That doesn’t make any sense. Folate, AKA Folic Acid, is contained in lots of foods, including spinach and peas. It’s also a part of most multivitamins and is often taken as a supplement by pregnant women.

    As far as I know, the only FDA regulations concerning folic acid is that it is REQUIRED to be added to breads, cereals, flours, etc. to improve general public health. It is not limited to those products.

    I wish there were more references in the linked article about who exactly passed down the order to start blocking Vegemite.

  11. hmm, I wonder where my post just went.

    If this gets double-posted, I apologize.

    This article doesn’t make much sense to me. As far as I know, folates, AKA folic acid, are not limited by the FDA, in fact the FDA regulations REQUIRE folic acid to be added to breads, flours, cereals, etc. This doesn’t mean they are only allowed in those foods.

    Folic acid occurs naturally in spinach, peas and other foods, and is taken as a supplement by many people, especially during pregnancy.

    I would have liked the linked article to provide some references, especially information about who exactly may have passed down the order to ban Vegemite.

    It’s just ridiculous.

  12. FLConsumer says:

    There’s multiple articles here:
    http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&q=vegemite&btnG=S

    BUT none of them seem to be primary sources, just rip & read type articles.

  13. kerry says:

    Man, it’s totally off-topic, but Coronagold got my ire up -
    Anyone who doesn’t like marzipan is nuts, it’s pure bliss in little airbrushed wads shaped like animals and fruits. Amazing.
    Also, marzipan would never, EVER be mit iodine. That Simpsons joke was referring to salty licorice (also delicious, but probably legitimately disgusting to those with less refined palates).
    Oh, and the clove Necco wafers are the best, by far.

  14. acambras says:

    I did a little lunchtime research — went to fda.gov and typed “vegemite” in the search field. Below is some info that I found. Nowhere did I see the word “folate.”

    The first grouping between rows of asterisks is the page header. The second grouping shows the refusal of Vegemite in particular. The third grouping defines the reasons “needs FCE” and “no process.”

    Refusal Actions by FDA as Recorded in OASIS

    Country of Origin Entry # DOC Line Suffix
    Manufacture Name
    City / ISO Country Code District
    Product Code Product Description
    Date Reason

    *************************************************
    United Kingdom 084-1013637-1 47 1
    Nisa International
    Grimsby , GB NYK-DO
    25HCT99 KRAFT VEGEMITE SANDWICH SPREAD, DOES NOT REQUIRE FCE/SID
    19-JAN-2006 NEEDS FCE
    NO PROCESS

    *************************************************
    Reason: NEEDS FCE
    Section: 402(a)(4), 801(a)(3); ADULTERATION
    Charge: It appears the manufacturer is not registered as a
    low acid canned food or acidified food manufacturer pursuant
    to 21 CFR 108.25(c)(1) or 108.35(c)(1).

    Reason: NO PROCESS
    Section: 402(a)(4), 801(a)(3); ADULTERATION
    Charge: It appears that the manufacturer has not filed
    information on its scheduled process as required by 21 CFR
    108.25(c)(2) or 108.35(c)(2).

  15. wikkit says:

    I’m with kerry, what about my Marmite?

    A little hunting around and this looks to be bogus, or at least misrepresented. Check out the links:

    The initial story:
    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20623973-2,00.html
    Overview:
    http://www.souzouzone.jp/blog/2006/10/substance_abuse.php


    It appears that the FDA has not made a statement on Vegimite, and that this could be a misunderstanding regarding Vegimite imported to the UK.

  16. I thought the purple Necco wafers were anise/licorice?

    The green ones were my fave.

  17. AcilletaM says:

    Black are licorice.

    I lived near one of the plants for while. They had a tower painted like a package of the wafers and when you drove by you could smell them making them.

  18. ElizabethD says:

    Well, that yeast infection analogy just insured that I will never ever try Vegemite! Um: EWWW.

  19. GenXCub says:

    The only time I came into contact with it was when Aussie friends visited. I took a whiff from the container. It smelled like the coating on vitamins + old people. I didn’t dare taste it.

  20. Thank you acambras.

    However the filing you shared is an import denial. It seems that Vegemite has no FCE registration or SID filing, so it cannot be imported into the US. Of course, there’s not much of a market here, so Kraft has never seen a need to import it.

    I don’t believe the denial of import applies to bringing your own jar of Vegemite over for personal consumption.

  21. KesCaesar says:

    “Reminding many Americans of the salty brown discharge of a dehydrated woman with a yeast infection…”

    That’s disgusting. And not really funny. :(

  22. acambras says:

    The only thing I can think of that would preclude Vegemite being brought into the US for personal consumption is the liquids & gels prohibition. But that would be TSA, not FDA, right?

    That said, TSA rules are not always being applied in foreign countries the way they are here. I flew back to the U.S. from Mexico last weekend and at the Mexico City airport, NO gels or liquids were being allowed in carryons, not even drinks bought in the secure area or 3 oz. containers in quart-size ziploc bags.

    But again, this seems to be FDA, not TSA. But maybe an FDA staffer got overzealous. A staffer with a sinister, anti-Aussie agenda…

  23. DTWD says:

    Mmm… yeast infection. *Lick lick*

  24. Yozzie says:

    Now wait just a bloody minute! I got a random text message from a Yank friend about this yesterday, and just assumed she was on crack. But no! Well, fuck the FDA, I’m bringing back an extra-large jar of the stuff from my trip home this Christmas. Wankers!

    Gypsychk: that’s the first thing most Americans do. I go especially easy on Vegemite virgins and give them just the barest suggestion of the stuff, on top of an extra-thick layer of butter. It’s like learning to drink liquor – if you go all out on your first try, you’re screwed.

    Pelagius: thanks for the reminder, I need to add Berocca to the shopping list!

    And Kerry: Marmite just isn’t the same.

  25. aestheticity says:

    As a Brit I prefer Marmite. It’s stronger. Not that I care either way, as long as there’s a jar of either in the cupboard every morning I’m happy.