Vegemite Ban a Sham?


A concerned friend sent me a Slashfood post saying vegemite was being banned in the U.S. I panicked. I’m addicted to this Aussie savory, salty smear on my buttered toast, I only possess three jars, and I was afraid I was too late to stockpile more now that the word was out. I snooped around online and found all the info led to the same source, a piece from Australia’s Courier Mail. A piece from the New Zealand Herald also surfaced recently. According to the piece, the U.S. had banned my beloved vegemite for containing folate, which the F.D.A. only allows to be added to breads and cereals. However, I was unable to find any info on the F.D.A. side. I placed a call to the F.D.A., which gave me the scoop.

According to my source, it’s a rumor that they banned vegemite. The fact is, they know nothing about the ban. There are no import alerts that mention vegemite. Second, they say that it would only be a violation of F.D.A. standards if folate were added rather than occurring naturally in the food. My F.D.A. guy added that if folate had been added to vegemite, the F.D.A. would have known about it long ago, and vegemite would have been long gone. According to my source and new best friend, it was Kraft/General Foods that discontinued the importation because it misread the Code of Federal Regulations 172.345 (the rule on folate/folic acid). I tried to read that baby, and I can see how a mistake could easily have been made. I have a call in to Kraft/General Foods, and I’m not resting as long as breakfast still exists.

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