Terrorist (Yeast) Cell Extract
October 23, 2006 6:14 AM   Subscribe

TSA Alert: US Bans Vegemite. Is it because this yeast extract tastes bad? Do the Marmite^ people have some sinister influence? Has Australia offended our government somehow? How is it that a product that has been around for 80 years suddenly becomes forbidden? Who would ban a product that can help prevent neural tube defects (e.g., spina bifida)? Blame the FDA, whose has ruled that folate (folic acid) "should be kept under 1 mg per day ... because higher intake may complicate the diagnosis of pernicious anemia, one form of vitamin B12 deficiency, which especially affects older people." Of course pernicious anemia is rare (less than 10-20 cases/100,000 people per year in the US), as is the Vegemite market. But when has logic ever dictated policy. The international fallout has already started:
"I am never going to America", vows Xochiquetal, while a commenter at Geelong blogger Bernie Slattery’s site foresees US regulators going even further down the road to absurdity, "Americans don’t know what they’re missing … they’ll be banning Tim Tams next."
If the government wanted to ban something Australian, the least they could have done is started here.
posted by scblackman (47 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
What about Marmite?
posted by Flashman at 6:17 AM on October 23, 2006


It's just because Kraft didn't apply for the proper license. That's all. You can delete the thread now.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:18 AM on October 23, 2006


I don't know if Marmite is banned ... but apparently their TV advertisements are.
posted by scblackman at 6:21 AM on October 23, 2006


I live in the US, and I've never had any problem finding enough Vegemite to coat my entire body.
posted by loquacious at 6:25 AM on October 23, 2006


Ban info here

Reason: NEEDS FCE
Section: 402(a)(4), 801(a)(3); ADULTERATION
Charge: It appears the manufacturer is not registered as a low acid canned food or acidified food manufacturer pursuant to 21 CFR 108.25(c)(1) or 108.35(c)(1).

Reason: NO PROCESS
Section: 402(a)(4), 801(a)(3); ADULTERATION
Charge: It appears that the manufacturer has not filed information on its scheduled process as required by 21 CFR 108.25(c)(2) or 108.35(c)(2).

"It appears Kraft didn't submit processing information for a low acid food. A search of the FDA points out that US manufacturers have to submit safety information forms for similar products. This is just Kraft being lazy for a product that doesn't sell well in the US and dumb australians making a story off a wikipedia quote (saying that it is banned because of a folic acid product technicality) - not the real reason that the manufacturing process must be approved by the FDA. Yeast is a fungus that with improper handling could cause sickness. Not a dumb FDA, but a badly researched sensational article." - some guy
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:26 AM on October 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


No great loss. It tastes like shit.
posted by bunglin jones at 6:28 AM on October 23, 2006


I've tried that. The neighborhood dogs can tell the difference.
posted by loquacious at 6:33 AM on October 23, 2006


Which one do they prefer?
posted by smackfu at 6:36 AM on October 23, 2006


Vegemite, no question.
posted by loquacious at 6:38 AM on October 23, 2006


Yeah, folic acid doesn't make sense. Hell, pregnant women take folic acid supplements.

More disturbing is how our nanny state chooses to protect us. Rather than deal with the nightmare of factory farms (and now giant salad spinners) that make tens of thousands sick every year, they'd rather be scared of unpasteurized cheese and the damn farners.
posted by fungible at 6:40 AM on October 23, 2006


Is there a link to the FDA decision cited in the FPP?
posted by footnote at 6:42 AM on October 23, 2006


congrats, your FPP sucks.
posted by cellphone at 6:45 AM on October 23, 2006


cellphone rules!
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:47 AM on October 23, 2006


Is this post a parody?
posted by LarryC at 6:48 AM on October 23, 2006


Those Ugg boots are seriously ugly. I'm usually the last person to notice footwear, but I can't help noticing that Asian girls in my area (I live next to Chinatown) won't wear any boots but those in winter.
posted by clevershark at 6:50 AM on October 23, 2006


It ain't Fluff, that's for sure.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:52 AM on October 23, 2006


The TSA? I know the Transportation Safety Administration and U.S. customs are part of Fatherland (aka Homeland) Security, but aren't they still two different agencies? This seems like a customs matter and not a matter of security.

Once again, a "conservative" administration that derides the "nanny state" is creating a super-nanny state.
posted by three blind mice at 6:53 AM on October 23, 2006


http://lighten.up.com
posted by scblackman at 6:59 AM on October 23, 2006


Scoff all you want, but I see the Coalition of the Willing soon becoming one army smaller.
posted by Flashman at 7:06 AM on October 23, 2006


That's a great article, fungible. Thanks.
posted by dreamsign at 7:06 AM on October 23, 2006


I thought it was, if nothing else, a rather funny FPP. So suck it.
posted by Bageena at 7:15 AM on October 23, 2006


No great loss.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 7:32 AM on October 23, 2006


That's ok..... this
codex
Alimentarius
is on its way.

Video - gal is a bit 'annoying'
posted by rough ashlar at 7:35 AM on October 23, 2006


Let me pull in two comments I made in the bread FPP.

More disturbing is how our nanny state chooses to protect us.

I'm guessing you weren't assigned The Jungle. Or heard about the sulfa poisonings that led to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Remember that any time you eat a steak with a spinach salad. It may not be a perfect inspection process, but death from tainted meat, milk, and vegetables used to be pretty common, and now a food poisoning outbreak is big news.
posted by dw at 8:15 AM on October 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


This is the dumbest thing our government has done, and they've done some really dumb things.
posted by mike3k at 8:18 AM on October 23, 2006


Until someone can show a statement from the FDA or USDA specifically banning the importation of yeast extract products (including vegemite but also Marmite), I think we have to treat this article as highly dubious and bordering on yellow journalism. And the whole "folic acid" line of argumentation is just ludicrious, since turnip greens contain folic acid, and you can walk into any supermarket in the Southeast this morning and buy a bunch.

If I have to, I'll go buy a jar of vegemite at a store here in Seattle to prove there's no ban. Of course, that means finding a store in Seattle that sells it. I'm guessing Whole Foods, since Larry's is basically out of business....
posted by dw at 8:24 AM on October 23, 2006


mike3k, that's a pretty bold and obviously wrong statement! Maybe you would like to reconsider?
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:24 AM on October 23, 2006


It may not be a perfect inspection process, but death from tainted meat, milk, and vegetables used to be pretty common, and now a food poisoning outbreak is big news.

My family can't believe that I've given up home canning antipasto, all because of some little government warning. Why, they've been doing it for decades with no ill effects.
posted by dreamsign at 8:32 AM on October 23, 2006


dw: Good Lord, I'm not suggesting they dismantle the FDA! I'm just suggesting their priorities, like most things in our government these days, are only attuned to what their corporate overlords tell them.
posted by fungible at 8:35 AM on October 23, 2006


Aaah, fungible. It's just I usually hear your line of reasoning from people out here who are anti-pasteurization -- even though we've seen both the Jack In The Box and Odwalla outbreaks originate here.

I agree the FDA and USDA tend to look out more for corporations than for people, but when they need to they still put their foot down, especially when their public health people start pointing to the dead bodies.
posted by dw at 8:41 AM on October 23, 2006


fungible writes "giant salad spinners)"

Interesting, thanks for the link. Let see

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that our food supply now sickens 76 million Americans every year, putting more than 300,000 of them in the hospital, and killing 5,000.

Oh hum, war on e-coli ! Certainly Homoland Securitareh needs 60 bazillion more to win a battle against american industries ? What could possibily go wrong ?
But we do know that a great deal of spinach from a great many fields gets mixed together in the water at that plant, giving microbes from a single field an opportunity to contaminate a vast amount of food.The plant in question washes 26 million servings of salad every week. In effect, we’re washing the whole nation’s salad in one big sink.
Never worry ! We get all the expensive controls going, the controls that we say make the price tag higher, but it is for YOUR SAFETY ! Except, they don't work and you pay them still. Don't you admire the crazybrilliance of creating you a problem, making you pay for a solution that doesn't work ? That almost puts Saddam into new newbies corner !
“For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do.”
Because terrorists don't need to, the very system poisons itself :) Yet never worry, we will send Homers guarding all the "salade tossing" ! Yes , even the other salade tossing ! Hey but maybe free market will solve it ! Free market, free market hoy !
The industry insists that all regulations be “scale neutral,” so if the U.S.D.A. demands that huge plants have, say, a bathroom, a shower and an office for the exclusive use of its inspectors, then a small processing plant that slaughters local farmers’ livestock will have to install these facilities, too. This is one of the principal reasons that meat at the farmers’ market is more expensive than meat at the supermarket
Free market my ass ! Industry solving human problems ? They rather whine like big fat bitches !
posted by elpapacito at 8:41 AM on October 23, 2006


i just had a vegemite toast yesterday! boo!
posted by growabrain at 8:46 AM on October 23, 2006


div:
If I have to, I'll go buy a jar of vegemite at a store here in Seattle to prove there's no ban. Of course, that means finding a store in Seattle that sells it. I'm guessing Whole Foods, since Larry's is basically out of business....


The Metro in Admiral junction has it.

This better not be accurate -- my favoritest sammich in the world is a custom vegemite/ chutney/ curried tofu/ sprouts/ sourdough rye jobbie. Don't be hatin' on the 'mite!

Dear god, I am such a hippie...
posted by tspae at 9:12 AM on October 23, 2006


"The border guard asked us if we were carrying any Vegemite," Mr Fogarty said.

Imagine the border guard's surprise when Fogarty whipped out a jar of the stuff.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:15 AM on October 23, 2006


Uh, it's vegemite. Who cares?

You can ban Paul Hogan, too, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by tadellin at 9:18 AM on October 23, 2006


Paul Hogan was never relevent.

However, Welcome to Woop Woop will always be relevent.
posted by loquacious at 9:25 AM on October 23, 2006


MARMITE ROOOOLLLLLZZZZZ!!!!!!
posted by johngumbo at 9:30 AM on October 23, 2006


Marmite isn't banned because Unilever isn't incompetent.
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:34 AM on October 23, 2006


vegemite/ chutney/ curried tofu/ sprouts/ sourdough rye

Sweet Jesu, man! I think you finally found a way to bestow breath worse than what you'd get simply eating kimchee! Don't stop now! Throw on some liverwurst, raw onions and spicy mustard! This is for SCIENCE!
posted by loquacious at 10:06 AM on October 23, 2006


fungible posting in this thread is eponysterical.
posted by grouse at 10:43 AM on October 23, 2006


I have a half full jar of Marmite that has been in my fridge for a decade. Should I chuck it? It still tastes the same as ever whenever I get that that jones for the Marmite...
posted by Skygazer at 11:33 AM on October 23, 2006


It certainly tastes like it ought to be banned.

The FDA seems to really be fucked lately, whether or not Vegemite is actually suddenly bannable. I'm betting that it's due to the fact that it's probably entirely managed by Bush Yes-Men, though. We've always been at war with e. coli.
posted by blacklite at 12:37 PM on October 23, 2006


It really should have a label stuck on it: "NOTICE TO AMERICANS: SPREAD IT VERY THIN."

As to whether my government's offended yours ... unfortunately, that's not been happening. The conga line of suckholes is still in power here.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:05 PM on October 23, 2006


I'm fairly convinced this is a just a beat-up, so typical of the Herald Sun, which is where the story originated. Their follow up story isn't exactly stellar journalism either.

Ban info here
That's for vegemite imported from the UK only, so far as I can tell (correct me if I'm wrong).
posted by harmless at 4:36 PM on October 23, 2006


From our very own Gomichild comes this pretty dang comprehensive look into this Vegemite kerfuffle.

WARNING: Graphic image of the brave author taking her life in her hands and eating Vegemite!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:46 PM on October 23, 2006


The FDA came out today and said there is no ban on vegemite and never was one.

As Roseanne Rosannadanna once said, "Never mind."
posted by dw at 1:42 PM on October 24, 2006


More info on the non-ban from Snopes.com.
posted by TedW at 5:39 AM on October 26, 2006


« Older This...  |  Ecstasy is good for your brain... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments