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Danish Marmite ban: the plot thickens

Danish Marmite ban: the plot thickens
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Authorities in Denmark reject claims that they have banned the British culinary curiosity, Marmite. Rumours that the black by-product of brewing had been forbidden sparked what one witness described as “angry frowns” among British expats living in Denmark.

Danish health authorities say Marmite was not banned in the country, but any food product with added vitamins needed to get approved before being marketed. They add adding that marketing permissions have been issued in the past for products with added vitamins.

So apparently it can be sold although it may not be promoted.

“Neither Marmite nor Vegemite and similar products have been banned by the Danish Food And Veterinary Administration. However, fortified foods with added vitamins, minerals or other substances can not be marketed in Denmark unless approved by Danish food authorities,” the organisation said in a statement on its website.

The statement went on to say that the respective authorities have not received an application for marketing in Denmark of Marmite or similar products with added vitamins or minerals. Other food products including some Kelloggs breakfast cereals have previously been prohibited in Denmark under health and safety rules brought in in 2004.

Marmite is a strong-tasting brown spread made from left-over yeast from the beer-making process. For many British citizens living abroad, it falls into the same category as baked beans, jelly and chocolate digestives: comfort food revered in Britain but rarely found abroad.

It had been reported that authorities had called Abigail’s, a shop in Copenhagen that sells British products, to demand they take Marmite off their shelves. Shop owner Marianne Orum told expat site “Marmite was one of our best selling products. Not a day goes by without someone coming in and asking for it. It’s becoming impossible to run a business in this country. The government keeps making things illegal!”

Marmite is marketed as something you either love or hate and those who fall in the ‘love’ category launched a campaign to bring the product back to Danish shops. Lyndsay Jensen, a Yorkshire born graphic designer working in Copenhagen told the expat website “They don’t like it because it’s foreign. But if they want to take my Marmite off me they’ll have to wrench it from my cold dead hands!”

No-one from either Marmite nor the Nutrition Division of the Danish Food and Veterinary Administration was available for comment on Friday afternoon.

By Ali Sheikholeslami and Mark Davis