they banned VEGEMITE???

Vegemite ad 1930sI was shocked to wake up this morning to news that Vegemite has been banned by the United States! Apparently, they can’t accept the folate in the good stuff, because folate is only permitted in cereals and breads. Actually, that sounds like a load of hogwash, since the folate in Vegemite is natural and the US regulations are only about added folates (or at least, so says Cerebral Soup in their “is it a hoax?” article), but hoax or not, the story is perfectly suited to boost Australian identity.

We’re going to the US for Thanksgiving. Now I assume I’ll be pulled aside and strip-searched for illicit Vegemite once they see my Aussie passport, like the Aussie expats living in Canada who were trying to smuggle a jar of the good stuff across the US border. Heck, even that bizarre Aussie gift shop across from the hotel I stayed at once in San Antonio (yes, in Texas) says they haven’t been able to get Vegemite.

Aussie loot from simplyaustralian.comBut ya know what? My trusty US source of Vegemite, simplyaustralian.com, says that though they’re out of stock of all but the tiny jars, they should have more in later this week. Hm. Is the vegemite crisis just spin? A viral marketing campaign by Vegemite’s advertising agency? Or maybe a subtle way of getting all us expats to feel all protective of our Australian culture? I mean, half of you probably didn’t even know that I was Australian. Not as if you can hear my accent on the blog, and after all, I live all the way over on the other side of the world… Look at Technorati’s list of the many recent blog posts about vegemite – if it’s viral marketing, it’s working. (First seen on BoingBoing)

Update: SimplyAustralian emailed me back with the following answer to my question about whether Vegemite was banned:

We are expecting our shipment into Seattle on Wednesday or Thursday and will need FDA clearance in order to sell it. At this point we are not expecting any problems. Check back on Friday for an update……….jan

So wait and see…

Update 2: “US denies Vegemite ban”

23. October 2006 by Jill
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