Marmite Smuggling Denmark's New Crime

Thursday 26 May 2011, 11:15AM
By NZ Food & Grocery Council

New Zealand’s food and grocery companies are incredulous at Denmark’s bizarre decision to make breakfast spreads like Marmite and Vegemite illegal under food safety laws, says Katherine Rich, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council.

This bizarre decision of The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration to ban these iconic Kiwi brands is one of the world’s best examples of what happens when governments don’t pay suitable attention to the regulation of food and grocery products.

What obviously started as the bright idea of a misguided Danish official has now made Denmark an international laughing stock, no doubt creating a headache for their Foreign Affairs diplomats.

It’s hard to think of anything else Denmark has done in the last 50 years which has simultaneously annoyed citizens of New Zealand, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa - countries where people are hugely loyal to breakfast brands like Marmite and Vegemite.

This weird law is not based on science, common sense or any issue remotely linked to food safety, factors which underpin New Zealand’s approach to food safety regulation.

The New Zealand Food and Grocery Council is writing to New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade officials to encourage them to raise this issue with their Danish counterparts.

We hope Danish officials do the honourable thing and accept they’ve got this one wrong.

With all the other serious challenges for customs officials and border security presented by illicit drugs trade or terrorism, surely the Danish regulators have more pressing priorities than expending resources on cross-border Marmite smuggling by ex-pat Kiwis and young people on their OE?