How the Marmite-y have fallen

Last updated 09:10 26/05/2011

Personally, if I'm going to partake of something dark and yeasty, it's more likely to be served in a pint glass than spread on a piece of toast. Yes, there may have been some Vegemite Weetbix sandwiches in my distant past but these days I'm more of a peanut butter girl*. And the plain truth is that I've never been much of a fan of Marmite.

Marmite toastBut then the Danish went and banned it. Whoa. Whoa now. Why the heck would you ban Marmite? I mean, it's not particularly nice but neither is Joan Rivers and no one's successfully banned her (yet). But apparently the deal in Denmark is that foods are not allowed to have added vitamins, which Marmite does in spades (niamin, thiacin, riboflavin, folic acid and the slightly less romantic sounding B12). Which rather begs the question, are you allowed to buy vitamins in Denmark?

Well, if Marmite is banned, surely cigarettes are too? Actually, no. You have to be 18 to buy them, but smokes are legal in Denmark. Oh, but that's right, nicotine and arsenic aren't vitamins, are they?

So you can sort of see why Danish Marmite-lovers might have good reason to question the wisdom of this latest legislative move but they should have seen it coming. Ovaltine and Horlicks were both earlier victims of the Danish aversion to added vitamins. Yes, Horlicks, that milky drink that made you sleepy when you were a kid (all snugly in your jim-jams before bed). That stuff. Yeah, toxic as, apparently. Gives you the plague...and shingles...and, um, conjunctivitis. We're all lucky we didn't die in our sleeps, garrotted by rampaging added vitamins with nothing better to do.

Though I'm sympathetic to the plight of Marmite fans residing in Denmark, I still can't help being amused by the somewhat plaintive question of British advertising exec Colin Smith, who asked: "What am I supposed to put on my toast now?"

Boot polish? Tar? Axle grease? All legal in Denmark, all more or less as enjoyable to eat as Marmite. Knock yourself out, Colin. At least there's no risk of added vitamins in a tin of Kiwi polish. Sure, you might have to get your stomach pumped before morning tea time but think how shiny your tonsils will be.

But maybe that's the solution. I suggest that the Danish authorities allow a special dispensation for those people, like me, who are committed to a diet completely devoid of vitamins, to each vitamin-fortified food. For if I live on bottles of Coke Zero and potato chips then surely this might balance out the dangerously high levels of vitamins present in Marmite? Just putting it out there. Sometimes you need a lateral thinker like me to come up with the truly brilliant solutions to life's little problems.

So, thinking about your own dietary intake, are you at risk from vitamins? Is Marmite the oddest thing to be banned ever? (It's not, the things that Walmart alone has banned leaves Marmite in the dust, then there's all the great works of literature that have been considered too naughty, not to mention all the stuff you can't do in San Francisco.) So perhaps the Danish are not alone in this desire to forbid.  Lord knows, I'm still trying to get my "Make Joan Rivers Be Quiet" petition off the ground.

*Unbelievably there is actually a song called Peanut Butter Girl (thanks Google, how you continue to enrich my life). Even more astonishingly it's terrible. No really, it's pretty bad.

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Post a comment
Flub   #1   09:21 am May 26 2011

Banning marmite because it has more vitamins than it was born with is perverse. But that photo of marmite on toast is just wrong.

You might get away with slathering it on if it were Nutella, but marmite must be spead thinly on hot buttered toast, so you get the salty, malty twang without a full-on bang. Cor, I'm salivating just thinking about how overpowering the toast in your photo must be.

kevin   #2   09:25 am May 26 2011

Codex Alimentarius in action

EMC   #3   09:31 am May 26 2011

I'm sure British advertising exec Colin Smith was actually referring to English Marmite when he exlaimed "What am I supposed to put on my toast now?", as that has also been banned under the same premise. I fully understand his plight, as English Marmite (sold as Our Mate here) is deliciously salty goodness, entirely addictive and essential for all good ex pats well being.

Simon DC   #4   09:39 am May 26 2011

If "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs" didn't get banned I can't see how they can justify banning Marmite. Marmite, cheese and green onion flavoured potato chip sandwiches. Om nom nom.

Mind you, this is Denmark we're talking about. We all know that vitamins make you grow taller and have less of a sense of humour (see any vegetarian for evidence of the latter). The Danes cannot afford to grow taller as doors are a standard height and their senses of humour are already dry enough to cure Nelson's flooding problem. Perhaps the Marmite ban is a good thing?

Niri Tacen   #5   09:46 am May 26 2011

Can't sleep, vitamins will garrote me.

Simon   #6   10:10 am May 26 2011

I really couldn't believe this story, so traced it back to source. So, direct from the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and blah, blah, blah webpage:

"Neither Marmite nor Vegemite and similar products have been banned by the Danish Food And Veterinary Administration. However, fortified foods with added vitamins, minerals or other substances can not be marketed in Denmark unless approved by Danish food authorities.

According to the Danish Order on food additives, addition of vitamins, minerals and other substances need to be approved by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration before the product can be marketed in Denmark.

The Danish Food and Veterinary Administration has not received an application for marketing in Denmark of Marmite or similar products with added vitamins or minerals.

Other fortified food products have been approved by Danish food authorities and are being marketed in Denmark."

Does make one wonder about just reading the headlines of stories and drawing conclusions, but that subject just isn't topical right now so I won't mention it...

SS   #7   10:11 am May 26 2011

Marmite on buttery toast! Mmmmm, delicious Marmite! Vegemite, not so much.

C   #8   10:21 am May 26 2011

I'm an utter Peanut Butter Nutter, from Sanitarium, I pick the freshest peanuts from the world and pour them in...........

ScrabbleChick   #9   10:39 am May 26 2011

I'm a Vegemite chick. Is that still legal? If not, I'm sorry but I can never go to Denmark. They'll miss out on my tourist dollar (yes, just the one dollar).

Wellybex   #10   11:07 am May 26 2011

Marmite = blarf. It should be banned. Vegemite on the other hand is made of delicious.

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