Marmite's return inches closer

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 15:23 05/12/2012
Marmite assembly line
Stacy Squires
NO MORE: Marmite being packed by Jacqui Lewis before the plant's temporary closure.

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Sanitarium has its fingers crossed the Marmite factory is only days away from gaining approval from the Christchurch City Council, but that is the first in many hurdles to overcome before the spread is back on shelves.

In an update released today, the makers of the yeast spread said it was hoping to get the final building inspection on Friday next week.

Marmite production was suspended in March after earthquake damage to a cooling tower at the company's Christchurch factory rendered the nearby Marmite building unsafe.

Repairs were expected to be completed halfway through this year with Marmite back on shop shelves by July. But  further inspection revealed more quake damage which pushed the date back to last month.

Sanitarium has stopped giving estimated production dates, due to the number of setbacks Marmite's return has already experienced.

Sanitarium revealed on its Facebook page a Christchurch Council building inspector began work on the site last Friday.

"As you can imagine, it's a big job to ensure that the site is safe and meets the new building and safety standards.

"He has provided his report and there are a few additional things he wants rectified," Sanitarium said.

"At this stage, if no unforeseen issues arise, we anticipate having our council approval by Friday 14 December."

But that would only be the beginning of further building inspection to review the plant's functionality.

Sanitarium said further testing would involve pumping water through all the production pipes to check the seals.

Even then, it could not say when the black spread would be back on supermarket shelves.

"We will then pump some bulk stock through to make sure that it functions well and correct any small issues that may come up.

"If all goes well, we can then start making bulk stock. Once we have enough bulk stock, it then has to be blended to achieve our unique Marmite flavour that Kiwis love.

"The next step will be to pack stock to get Marmite back on shelf."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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