Beware the Creeper!

Iain's life as a psychotic crimefighter

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There is no ban on Vegemite in the US

Who'd have thought the Australian press would screw up so badly?

Oh well, things will be better soon...

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Felony Fortification

The link says:
"Joanna Scott, spokesperson for Vegemite's maker, Kraft, reportedly has said, "The Food and Drug Administration doesn't allow the import of Vegemite simply because the recipe does have the addition of folic acid". "

The FDA is quoted: "If they're adding folate to it, boosting it up, technically it would be a violation."

So while the FDA denies they sent an "import alert", Vegemite is technically illegal under the Felony Fortification laws set up in the 1970s and 1990's because folate is added. They banned vitamin-B fortified beer because healthy drunks "sent the wrong message", and vitamin fortified junk foods for similar reasons. The food industry officially didn't accept that vitamin fortification was appropriate for foods of otherwise little nutritional value, and they lobbied the government. The argument was that adding vitamin B12 to your diet would mask a vitamin B12 deficiency in the blood.

They changed the laws eventually in 1999 because of their 1993 study that showed that folate helped prevent birth defects. However they only allow fortification in flour, and only at a "safe dose". They pretended its a drug you could be overdosed on, and so limited the fortification to flour and refined cereals. Whole grain cereals are illegal to fortify because they are presumed to already have enough vitamins.

Kraft could get its lawyers to say that hops are a cereal crop, and Vegemite is fermented hops, but then they'd have to allow healthy beer that didn't make you fat, and that as we all know, would be against the bible.

So the FDA didn't sent word against exports, but legally they could have and should have. The only question now is whether some US customs warlord decided to implement an unauthorised ban anyway. Where did the story come from? I'm willing to believe that nobody was hassled by power-mad US customs guards, could it have been PR for Kraft? Political agitation against the unhealthy restrictions on folate fortification?

Hmm, I may have a story for next week's radio show...

I just looked again at your original link to the Courier Mail. They directly quote Daniel Fogarty saying he was hassled going over the US-Canadian border, and Paul Watkins who said he was forced by the FDA to stop importing it to his US shop.

Do the men exist, and did they say this, and did it happen? Or should we just believe the FDA when they say we should have but didn't?

Paul Watkins has his store at http://about-australia-shop.com/ and all the vegemite containing products are "out of stock".

Daniel Fogarty is found at http://www.geelonginfo.com.au/readarticle.asp?articleid=21187
"Former Geelong Advertiser reporter Daniel Fogarty was among people to raise international alarm after he and his partner Sarah Egan were asked by US border police if they were carrying any Vegemite into the country."
I suspect the Geelong Advertiser is the origin of the story. They tell their story here, (google cached because the page broke)

Shane Simmons on http://www.eyestrainproductions.com/es/pivot/entry.php?id=106 had his Vegemite taken away travelling from Hawaii to Vancouver because it was considered a gel. All liquids and gels were trashed, because everyone knows that anything not solid can explode on a plane.

Good old Advertiser, a Media watch favourite.

Good god! It's like having my own private journalist!

Here's something else you might be interested in covering for Diffusion:

Broken Mirrors: A Theory of Autism

I think it would make an interesting double with Does Television Cause Autism? (warning: pdf)

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