In pursuit of happy little vegemites

Many of the great delights in the world are cross-cultural. One is the splendid discovery that the best way to eat vegemite is on proper fresh-cooked American bagel. But now, it seems that may have all come to an end. According to the Herald-Sun:

The US has banned Vegemite, even to the point of searching Aussies for jars of the spread as they enter the country.

The bizarre condiment crackdown was prompted because Vegemite has been deemed illegal under US food laws.

The great Aussie icon — faithfully carried around the world by travellers from Down Under — contains folate, which under a technicality, the US allows only to be added to breads and cereals.

Australian expatriates in the US said enforcement of the ban had been gradually stepped up and was now ruining lifelong Vegemite on toast breakfast traditions.  

(Hat tip: Dan Andrews)

Update: Stateside, Sallie James and Tyler Cowen share my outrage.

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12 Responses to In pursuit of happy little vegemites

  1. little vegemites with taste says:

    It is beyond me why anyone will eat a foul smelling and foul tasting spread. It will force people with dead tastebuds to search for better tasting alternatives. Yay! for Nutella.

  2. Bring Back EP at LP says:

    this won’t spread!

  3. Sinclair Davidson says:

    Under the FTA, vegemite should be banned here too.

  4. vivy says:

    Does this mean that if I mix it with coke I can get high?

  5. Andrew Leigh says:

    Homer, we can always count on you to help us out of a jam.

  6. Claire says:

    What is the correct way to dispose of my two large 2/3 empty jars of the stuff (with expiration dates of 2001 and 2003)? Should I call the bomb squad?

  7. cam says:

    World Market in Dulles, VA is out of it now. I went there this night to grab up what remained, but some selfish bastard had beaten me to it.

  8. Susan says:

    Dear Claire
    Your vegemite will be happily in your pantry for the next ten years. At this rate you can sell the stuff to expatriate aussies who miss it…

  9. Christine says:

    cam: you can still buy vegemite from a mail order company, I think, though they have a limit of 2 jars per address (and Fruit Tingles are in their top 10 sellers?). Otherwise, drop into Canada – Toronto has at least one supermarket that actually sells Tim Tams, apparently, and most have vegemite still. (Though lets face it if they want to really crack down, the sniffer dogs aren’t going to have much trouble identifying it in your suitcase on the way back.)

    I’ve heard some conspiracy theories that the makers of marmite are behind the ban.

  10. cba says:

    “Australian expatriates in the US said enforcement of the ban had been gradually stepped up and was now ruining lifelong Vegemite on toast breakfast traditions. ”

    it was already ruined by the lack of decent bread over here. overprocessed and packed with sugar like the rest of the american diet. vege on a bagel or english muffin isn’t a bad subsitute, though.

  11. Alistair says:

    Bastards! I just hope this doesn’t spread, especially to Hong Kong, here I can by both Vegemite and TimTams at the local supermarket (although the TimTams are Indonesian not Australian made and aren’t half the quality of Aussie ones), this means I get TimTams sent over in each parcel every few weeks, but I could not go on without my vegemite for breakfast each morning.

    On what cba says, the Vegemite experience isn’t great, he’s right, very few people eat bread over here as well and the quality is really bad as well, its still better than nothing.

    Any plans for Australia to sign an FTA with HK? I certainly hope this phrase isn’t included, us expats need our vegemite!


  12. Sebastian says:

    Vegemite is made by a US-owned company! – but it is also an ingredient in a suicide/euthanasia machine currently receiving some publicity ‘down under’.

    Maybe Kraft Foods are planning on bringing out a wonderfully foul-tasting spead, but with a different name, in the US and want to clear the field.

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