Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Vegemite in the News

Years ago Australian and New Zealand vegemite lovers who took supplies of their favourite spread overseas in their luggage were sometimes stopped by suspicious customs officers. Apparently the dark brown sticky substance was mistaken for hashish (cannabis extract) - although if you are familiar with both, the smell is unmistakeably different.

Customs officers now are used to homesick Antipodeans (or those who anticipate homesickness) carrying personal supplies in their luggage. But today I saw this news story.

To sum up, the US Food and Drug Administration bans Vegemite because it contains folate. Folate is actually added to breakfast cereals in the US because it prevents neural tube defects (like spina bifida) in babies, if it is present in sufficient quantities in the diet of pregnant women. You would think, therefore, that folate is a Good Thing. However, there is a list of foods permitted to have folate added, and Vegemite is not on it. In the past, a couple of jars for personal consumption were not considered a problem. Apparently this may no longer be the case.

Haven't they got more important things to look for? Like weapons and drugs? Just as well I'm not planning a trip to the US, and I'm not that keen on Vegemite that I can't do without it.


Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

On a trip back to the states, police surrounded us...they asked to check our bags..I looked at my two small children thinking WHAT DID YOU STUFF IN YOUR BAGS :)!!! Our bags were torn open..the officers laughed and laughed as they pulled out a plastic toy sword!

Deb R said...

Do you know if the folate is in Marmite too? Because I'm not sure I've ever seen vegemite here, but i know I've seen marmite for sale in some international grocery stores, so if they're pretty much the same thing, then what's the point in banning people from carrying in something they can buy here? (Not many places, granted, but a few) How silly.

Endment said...

I used to buy vegemite and wondered why it disappeared from our shelves - Guess someone has a reason but thanks for the information

Perhaps I can find a recipe and make some of my own _

barbie2be said...

Vegemite has NOT been banned in the US. The rumor is false.