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Vegemite Banned in the USA?

I just found out that Vegemite is banned in the States.

There's an American site called About Australia where you can buy and send gifts of Australianism to people. You know, that Aussie shit like packets of Tim Tams, jars of Vegemite, and drizabone oil skin coats. Obviously there's a huge need for this stuff out there, especially the coats. I guess it's kinda reassuring that you can get Burger Rings and a pair of Kangaroo leather skin gloves to eat them with, I suppose. Anyhow, in case you're wondering, I found the site because my sister has recently taken a job up on a resort in Florida, somewhere, and for a kick, I thought I'd send her Tim Tams. I'm all about the low effort angle of this, so of course, I found a website so I didn't have to drive to the supermarket and buy a pack and post 'em (actually, I figured postage would be much cheaper). Around the same time, however, Deb Layne (deborahlive), my fine and lovely publisher, had a birthday, and I thought, "I can send her a jar of Vegemite!"

Yeah, I did decide this while I was sick and running a fever last week. What of it? Come on! Who wouldn't want a jar of pitch black spread that is made from whatever is left over when they make beer? Who could turn such a thing down!

Except of course, Vegemite cannot legally be imported into the States anymore because it contains Folate.

Whatever that is.

EDIT: Folate is a vitamin B source, apparently, so it shouldn't be banned. Am I being scammed? The site is apparently a store in Texas, and I've yet to find any reports of scam, but I've queried them and we'll see what is said soon.

Gotta love the smart folk on blogs who educate you when you're just plain stupid, though.

EDIT 2: So, my order got canceled, which is good, and I haven't been charged anything, so I think it's just all a strange weirdness. Here's the email the site sent me in response to my query:

"G'Day Ben,

Thank you for replying back.

Unfortunately we can not consider your comments. All question and inquiries
are more than welcomed at the United States Government's website concerning
(FDA) Federal Department of Agriculture's laws and regulations. I am sure
they have plenty of answers to problems that we cannot solve nor control. We
apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Your order has been successfully cancelled.

Have a nice day."

Comments

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speshal_k
Oct. 5th, 2006 01:18 pm (UTC)
!!! I am *sure* I saw vegemite in San Francisco in April. It was super expensive, but I'm sure it was there.
benpeek
Oct. 5th, 2006 01:22 pm (UTC)
well, not according to the about australia website. no longer able to import it, they say. i'm sure if they try hard enought hey can.
(no subject) - girliejones - Oct. 6th, 2006 02:09 am (UTC) - Expand
deborahlive
Oct. 5th, 2006 01:26 pm (UTC)
::sniff!::

That's the sweetest thing somebody ever almost did for me when they were running a fever!

Having seen (and more importantly, smelled) Vegemite in the past, I'm sure you can imagine just how disappointed I am.

benpeek
Oct. 5th, 2006 01:28 pm (UTC)
i excel at those things that almost happen ;)

have you ever tasted it? i just love the stuff, myself.
(no subject) - deborahlive - Oct. 5th, 2006 01:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Oct. 5th, 2006 01:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - speshal_k - Oct. 5th, 2006 02:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Oct. 5th, 2006 02:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lyzbeth - Oct. 5th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Oct. 5th, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - girliejones - Oct. 6th, 2006 02:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kazzibee - Oct. 5th, 2006 01:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Oct. 5th, 2006 02:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
nick_kaufmann
Oct. 5th, 2006 01:38 pm (UTC)
Folate is a B vitamin that helps form red blood cells.

I can't find any evidence online that Vegemite is banned in the States. And it certainly wouldn't be banned for having vitamin B in it. I think the About Australia site is giving you misinformation for its own nefarious purposes.
benpeek
Oct. 5th, 2006 01:52 pm (UTC)
...aw, man, i bet this is going to suck.
mireille21
Oct. 5th, 2006 01:44 pm (UTC)
Um, folate is a vitamin thingiem that's really good for you (especially if you're pregnant or breastfeeding), *and* it's found in lots of stuff; like bread and spinach and cereals and things.

So I'm inclined to think that's a furphy of some sort concocted to cover up the real meaning. You can in fact buy vegemite in the States although the locally sold product is also locally made, so maybe they're really just trying to protect their local industry. Figures. The local stuff has also been modified for american tastes, it tastes less salty and more yeasty, and to my liking FOUL! Blech! What's the point of eating vegemite if it isn't actually vegemite.
benpeek
Oct. 5th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC)
yeah, i'm apparently learning this. fortunately, nothing has been charged to me yet, and i sent them a query about it. it looks a bit dodge, but i'll keep an eye on this stuff, obviously...

thank fuck for livejournal and peoeple more intelligent than me, huh?
ex_chrisbil
Oct. 5th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
I think there's different laws per state, so it might be a Texas thing. Many of them have a severe case of 'teh crazies', which might explain a lot... I shouldn't say that when I'm going there next month!

Funny story re: vegemite... my friend cybersquats (judge as you will) and bought vegemite.co.uk. When Kraft foods decided to start selling it here, they tried to get it off him. He said £500, they said £100, he said £250 (final offer) and they said... they said £100.

So he redirected it to Marmite's website. Hahaha... I guess you got to know what Marmite is to get it. Suffice to say he got sued, and now Kraft foods own vegemite.co.uk
shawn_scarber
Oct. 5th, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
Nope, not a Texas thing. I can get it at the local healthfood store.
(no subject) - benpeek - Oct. 5th, 2006 11:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Oct. 5th, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
simplykathryn
Oct. 5th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
The jar of vegemite I have here in the fridge at work has an expiry date of February 2002, but really, how could you tell?? It's not killed me yet.

I have a friend in Sydney who says that if evil had a taste, it would be Vegemite. I don't think they're going to pick that up as an advertising slogan, but it has always amused me...
benpeek
Oct. 5th, 2006 11:35 pm (UTC)
heh. i love that. if evil had a taste...

i like telling people who've never had vegemite to spread it thick.
(no subject) - simplykathryn - Oct. 6th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
shadowsandice
Oct. 6th, 2006 02:21 am (UTC)
Er, I took Vegemite over. And I declared it. And it went in.

And I saw Vegemite for sale in Seattle.


Eh?
benpeek
Oct. 6th, 2006 05:05 am (UTC)
it sounds more and more dodgy, doesn't it? hopefully i'm not going to find my credit card suddenly maxed somewhere, but i guess if i do i know where to go and point the finger.
(no subject) - shadowsandice - Oct. 6th, 2006 06:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Oct. 6th, 2006 07:14 am (UTC) - Expand
macdibble
Oct. 6th, 2006 07:41 am (UTC)
Isn't Vegemite owned by Sanitorium which means the profits go to the US anyway? Not like them to ban something that results in income.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 21st, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
Vegemite Banned???
They sell it here in Colorado at the World Market store. I believe Whole Foods may have it as well.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 21st, 2006 11:26 pm (UTC)
Vegemite and Sanitarium
Sanitarium Foods was owned by the Church of Seventh Day Adventists, which is based in the US but the food company was an Australian corporation, although they were private and they could distribute their profis however they like. However, they were purchased by Kraft Foods about .. 10 years ago, and Kraft is as American as commuting in a Hummer.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 13th, 2007 04:45 am (UTC)
Re: Vegemite and Sanitarium
James Kraft, the founder of Kraft foods was actually Canadian and by the sound of the name probably of German decent...so yeah...typically American :)

Fred Walker, the owner the Company which invented Vegemite actually teamed up with Kraft in the 1920s and even transferred the trademark to Kraft a long time ago. So there's no Sanitarium involved.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 03:16 am (UTC)
Here you go ... it's true!
And us Aussies in the U.S. are mega-pissed off!

http://www.news.com.au/sundayheraldsun/story/0,21985,20623197-662,00.html

Rose - From http://www.matesupover.com
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 03:48 am (UTC)
Vegemite Cancelled
I just went looking to find info on vegemite being banned in the USA after I saw it on a news bar on "Sunday". This was the only site I found even mentioning the fact. Also it appears to be still for sale on the About Australia website.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 04:12 am (UTC)
FDA Website
I just checked the FDA website, there are several what are called "refusal actions" listed about Vegemite. They are dated January and talk about labelling and registration issues as well as a problem with the colouring. I don't pretend to understand what it all means but there was no mention of folate.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 04:27 am (UTC)
mmm... Vegemite
I love vegemite and i think the crap promite and marmite is to strong. I wouldent eat marmite for a hundred bucks.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 07:10 am (UTC)
bugger
crazy yanks, we took heps of it in and they saw it everytime they searched us (5) but it wouldnt suprise me if it was a ban on large imports, any way its on the news tonight, see what they say
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 08:18 am (UTC)
Vegemite
I don't remember any reported cases of Vegemite poisoning for humans or their unborn children even though generations of Australians have been eating Vegemite daily on their toast and their lunch sandwiches...or do the US food authorities know differently? Please advise.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 09:51 am (UTC)
Folate Restrictions
Apparently in the US folate is only allowed in bread and cereal products. Vegemite obviously doesn't fall into one of these categories.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 10:06 am (UTC)
vegimite woo
vegimite owns! i love it, especially on cold mornings, ( you get it in the Australian 24 hr ration packs in these cute little tubes)
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 10:09 am (UTC)
Vegimite
just another thing, aparently the ownership of vegimite is now in the hands of a non-australian. however all the spin offs suck real bad. whats an aussie to do. im going to keep eating it...
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 10:10 am (UTC)
Hang on - Folate is allowed to be *in* bread, but not allowed to be spread *on* bread? What a load of dark brown, smelly goo.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 12:53 pm (UTC)
Vegemite
Heres a story from the herald sun
http://www.news.com.au/sundayheraldsun/story/0,21985,20623197-662,00.html
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 01:27 pm (UTC)
Sanitarium Ownership
Whoever said that Kraft bought Sanitarium is lying.

You can find the following info at the sanitarium website but basically:

Over a century ago, in 1898, Adventist missionaries opened a small business in Melbourne with the vision to help people 'learn to stay well' - the meaning of the word Sanitarium - by linking good diet with good health.

From a rented bakery, Edward Halsey, a baker, created Sanitarium peanut butter (Australia's first) and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals like Granose (an unsweetened forerunner to Weet-Bix) and Granola.

In 1900, Halsey transferred (in the Church) to New Zealand where he began making the first batches of Granola, Caramel Cereals (a coffee substitute) and bread in a small wooden shed in the Christchurch suburb of Papanui.

Since Edward Halsey began the business, the Sanitarium Company has been at the forefront of healthy eating. Sanitarium advocated vegetarianism before it was trendy and were the first to introduce the concept of the health food shop. Until the early 80's they had retail shops in Sydney.

So Weetbix is kinda Aussie AND Kiwi.


(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC)
Sunday Times:

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20623973-2,00.html
(Anonymous)
Oct. 22nd, 2006 02:33 pm (UTC)
USA Banned Vegemite
The reason why USA banned Vegemite was because of the folate. They only permit folate to be added to bread and cereals. Now if Vegemite has folates in it, does that mean if the Americans spread it on their toast in the mornings they'd be double dosing on folates? Not a bad thing really, is it?
(Anonymous)
Mar. 24th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
URBAN LEGEND
It has been denied that vegemite is banned from the USA. It started from a rumour of an Australian tourist being searched for foods incoming to America. His jar of vegemite was probably already open so they could not allow that to come in. As an Australian who is living currently in California, I have walked in at least 3 times since this upset with 2 tubes of vegemite unopened previously and not had any issue with bringing them in. for more information wikipedia vegemite.
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