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Wed, Oct. 25th, 2006, 06:30 am
Will no one stop this madness?

On of the great traditions of Australians, especially when abroad, is having vegemite on toast. In fact, I'm having some now. One of the things I looked forward to doing when in America was to bring a small jar of vegemite with me and share it with my American hosts (which is also an Australian tradition). Vegemite is quintessentially Australian. So why is it that America is banning vegemite and going so far as to search Australians when they cross the border to make sure they don't smuggle any in with them? It is deemed illegal, because it contains folate which under American laws can only be added to breads and cereals. This from the government that wants its citizens to eat more folate, especially pregnant women. I'm sure you could go into any chemist and buy folate supplements, so why are Australians banned from enjoying vegemite on their toast when travelling in your fine country? I'm sure I'll enjoy my trip anyway, but if any of you want to protect this rat from vegemite withdrawal, ask the FDA or your local representative (politicians are always more responsive around election time) why they've taken the extraordinary step of preventing Australians from bringing it in and banning its sale. If enough people ask, they may get around to correcting what I hope is just an administrative oversight.

Tue, Oct. 24th, 2006 09:05 pm (UTC)
narwhale: I wonder about marmite...

What?!?!

Fuck this shit. I only have one jar left... World Market sells vegemite, but that's in Atlanta, and I'm not going to be back there until Turkey Day. It better still be available!

I was going to have someone who might be visiting in a few months try and bring me a few of the big jars, but that might not work either. Okay, so normally I'm a big patriot, but right now I HATE THIS COUNTRY.

Tue, Oct. 24th, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC)
marko_the_rat: Re: I wonder about marmite...

I heard an interview on JJJ with someone who sells Australiana in America for expatriots like yourself. He says he sold out long ago and has to explain the situation to lots of disappointed expatriots.

Tue, Oct. 24th, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC)
kynekh_amagire

No vegemite? Seriously?

(More evidence to support my theory that the US electoral government system is a front invented by the media for entertainment purposes, and for the past fifteen years or so, all new laws have actually been written and ratified by a particularly obtuse and inflexible computer program.)

Tue, Oct. 24th, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC)
dakhun

Why does vegemite need to have additional folate added to it?
Don't the ingredients already contain some?

Tue, Oct. 24th, 2006 09:30 pm (UTC)
huskythedog: Look north?

I know that as a former stock boy in two different Canadian grocery store that you can buy Vegemite in Canada, although it is a very slow seller and usually expires before anyone buys it. You can get Marmite here, I have seen it on the grocery shelves in Indiana. So, what you need to do when you are in the states, is hop into a car, drive north into Canada, pick up some of your Vegimite, then hide it under your coat and back into the US. I suggest taking the North Portal back into the US, it is on the border between Saskatchewan and North Dakota, no one ever gets stopped there (not that many people cross there).

Now I know why I have never seen a jar of Vegemite here. That is one of the strangest things ever.

Wed, Oct. 25th, 2006 09:10 am (UTC)
marko_the_rat: Re: Look north?

I won't be going anywhere near the border on this visit. I'm told they even check Aussies going across the border, but if it's an obscure spot without a border guard...
(Deleted comment)

Tue, Oct. 24th, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC)
ex_radric52

Not sure if you've already seen this, buthere's another article about this situation, found at Wikipedia.

So... yeah **shrugs** not sure yet what to make of this. Strange, nonetheless.

Wed, Oct. 25th, 2006 09:17 am (UTC)
marko_the_rat

How very odd. If Bristol Farms and Whole Foods are selling it on their shelves, I guess I can make a stop at one of them to pick up a jar. I'm still too scared to carry some with me. I've heard stories about US Customs.

Wed, Oct. 25th, 2006 10:09 am (UTC)
ex_radric52

Well, after reading this this, I wouldn't try, either.

Very confusing.

Tue, Oct. 24th, 2006 10:03 pm (UTC)
rummy_raccoon

Holy crap! I was never too interested in eating it before but now that I cant have it I really want some! It seems you can still find it lingering around on Ebay,thats where I get other banned items such as absinth due to loop holes about novelty

Tue, Oct. 24th, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
espilonarge

Man is the American government getting stupider every year?

*hugs the ratty* Sorry to hear they're giving you trouble by s**t-stirring an Australian tradition.

Wed, Oct. 25th, 2006 01:11 am (UTC)
loganberrybunny

If it makes you feel any better, Marmite is being banned for the same reason...

Wed, Oct. 25th, 2006 03:02 am (UTC)
maddogairpirate

What's vegemite like? I feel deprived.

Wed, Oct. 25th, 2006 07:52 am (UTC)
cryoyank

Being similar and related to Marmite, it's a dark, very gooey spread made from yeast extract, and it's got a very salty taste. Goes well with toast and/or cheese, if you like briny things.

Wed, Oct. 25th, 2006 07:49 am (UTC)
cryoyank

That is very, very odd when you consider that Vegemite is now produced by an American corporation, Kraft Foods! I suspect the grain industry is behind this. They're a powerful lobby in the U.S. and well, money talks, and the cereal corporations have money to throw around (God knows, they charge us enough for it!). So that ensures that that producers of grain are now entrenched in a relevant position. The handshake between industry and government leads to petty little rules and is nearly impossible to break.

But I don't know if your American hosts would take to Vegemite anyway. I'm one of those people that loves Marmite (which is similar), but half the British population hates it. So I'm not sure what American reaction would be.

Wed, Oct. 25th, 2006 09:11 am (UTC)
marko_the_rat

But I don't know if your American hosts would take to Vegemite anyway.

They likely won't, but that's not the point! I wanted to be able to share the experience. And thank you for that very thoughtful response.

Wed, Oct. 25th, 2006 10:54 pm (UTC)
cryoyank

You're welcome, though from a personal standpoint I didn't think this merited comment unless I could say something insightful.

I must say, Marko, you're linking Vegemite as the sole embodiment of Aussie culture. I didn't realize you Aussies took it so seriously. For the Americans you visit, and those strangers you interact with, your accent will be Aussie culture enough for them. Bring photos, tell stories, sing Rolf Harris songs, whatever ... Vegemite is not Australia, it's just a part of it.

And, though I recognize that you yourself are not saying stupid things about the American gov't., I'd like to remind everyone else here that has done so, Democrat administrations are and have been just as much slaves to the corporate buck as Republicans have. It's so easy to bash this current administration, but would dissent be so strident if Clinton had done this?

Thu, Oct. 26th, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
marko_the_rat

Rolf Harris?! Who? As far as we're concerned, he's UK, mate. And we do take vegemite so seriously. Trust me on this.
(Deleted comment)

Wed, Oct. 25th, 2006 11:44 pm (UTC)
kynekh_amagire

Snopes.com picked up the story. Reports may have been somewhat exaggerated.

Thu, Oct. 26th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC)
marko_the_rat

Hmmm. It was reported on multiple news fronts, which helped me to give it credence. The contraction (such as it is) was also linked to in these pages. But the mere incident of an overzealous US Customs Guard confiscating it is enough to scare me off from carrying it.

And you must admit, even if the initial reports were exagerated (which I'm not entirely convinced of myself yet), this post has been a great one for generating comments. ;)
(Deleted comment)

Thu, Oct. 26th, 2006 12:24 pm (UTC)
doberman_guard

America is slowly turning into a commie dictatorship anyway so don't be surprised if more seemingly harmless foreign stuff gets banned. Though not to hate on your guy's beloved yeast paste...but I never was able to grow fond of it:p. I had an Aussie friend send me some, some years back. Bleh:p. Guess its' totally what you're raised with. Salty yeast paste is the best thing I could think of to describe its taste:p. Oh well, we got plenty of crap that we call food that you guys and many others wouldn't really wanna eat:p. Or hell, that I wouldn't recommend. Our foods' got waaaay to much shit in it.

Sun, Dec. 24th, 2006 06:45 am (UTC)
tarirat: Marmite and Vegemite

I just bought some Marmite at my local Meijer store (Northwest Ohio, USA) in the World Foods section, and I tasted the barest bit when I got home... and my impression of it was like taking soy sauce and evaporating away the water, leaving an *extremely* salty resinous substance. If Vegemite is anything like Marmite, it will be a steep, uphill battle for me to pick up a taste for it, unless it can be used to season things instead of being just for spreading onto bread. Don't feel too badly about it, as I've also tried Spam, the American original (it was first marketed in Australia in 1969, the year of my birth), but I found I couldn't stand the stuff and almost got sick from eating it. I'm content with watching and making impressions of Monty Python's Spam sketch. :o)

Tue, Dec. 26th, 2006 04:09 am (UTC)
marko_the_rat: Re: Marmite and Vegemite

like taking soy sauce and evaporating away the water, leaving an *extremely* salty resinous substance

That pretty much describes vegemite, only more flavourful. Isn't it great? And I don't take offence that you didn't like it. I want to share it with my American hosts; I don't expect them to like it. Other people have noticed that Americans tend to smear it on thickly like peanut butter and that is definitely not the way to approach vegemite.