Danish Arguments on Marmite Ban Spread Thin

Friday 27 May 2011, 12:59PM
By NZ Food & Grocery Council

Regardless of attempts to argue the semantics of the current status of Marmite and Vegemite in Denmark, there effectively remains a ban on the legal sale of these products, says Katherine Rich, CEO of the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council.

"In damage control, all Danish authorities have done is issue a cleverly-worded statement, which would make Sir Humphrey Appleby proud.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has essentially said that by their own narrow definition products like Marmite and Vegemite have not been banned, it’s just the products can’t be legally sold without a licence – essentially viewed as the same thing by Danish retailers who have recently removed Marmite from their shelves, and travellers who have had it removed by customs.

"Danish officials continue to overlook the main point being made in what has become an international debate. Requiring licences to sell Marmite and Vegemite as if they are dangerous food items and a threat to public health is ridiculous law, which doesn’t make one difference to food safety in Denmark. They are iconic Kiwi breakfast spreads, not firearms or motor vehicles.

"Thankfully in New Zealand our food regulators take a pragmatic approach based on science and common sense", Mrs Rich said.

The Council stands by its previous statements on this matter.