Tuesday, November 11, 2008

America needs vegemite!!!

Warning: This is a rant, I have not exhaustively researched the topic and it is my opinion on the limited information I know. If you can enlighten me, I'll greatly (and humbly) appreciate it.

A childhood friend of mine living here in the US mentioned that she is running out of Vegemite. I mentioned to her that she could probably find some at World Market, but then a friend of hers said they stopped carrying it because of a FDA BAN on importing Vegemite.

According to Snopes, it is because it contains folate, a b-vitamin.

If you have ever tasted vegemite, it is a love it or hate it kind of food (or should I say condiment). Although, in my case, I sometimes like it, sometimes don't. Even if you love, love, love it, it is IMPOSSIBLE to eat too much of it. For goodness sakes, we are adding folate to other foods because of the potential health benefits to the general population . So why not allow Vegemite? And why did it take them until 2006 to notice this? Given I don't have a jar with me, I don't know if they added folate to it, or if it is naturally occuring [update: upon closer reading of the above-mentioned snopes article, it appears folate is added to Vegemite]. Neither do I know how much folate is in it to begin with. Nonetheless, many Australians have thrived on the stuff and if it were a health problem, I think it would be have been banned in Australia first.

I believe Marmite is an English product similar to Vegemite. I have never compared the two. Has the ban applied to Marmite as well?

This is a classic example of government regulation going too far and not doing what it is intended to do. The FDA can't make up its mind on whether or not high fructose corn syrup is natural and they are divided on the safety of Bisphenol A. These two substances have a much larger (negative) impact on this nation's health. On the other hand, unless you totally despise the thing and are forced to eat it, Vegemite consumption is NOT a health threat. Neither should its sale be considered criminal activity.

Well, that is enough to place the FDA into my hall of shame.

End of rant.

[update 4/22/2010] I saw some at World Market today!

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