Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Denmark Strikes a Blow for Food Freedom
Marmite made illegal in Denmark
According to the marketing slogan it is a taste that you either love or hate. But Danes will no longer get the chance to make up their own minds on Marmite after the British delicacy was banned under food safety laws. The strongly flavoured dark brown spread made from brewer's yeast has joined Rice Crispies, Shreddies, Horlicks and Ovaltine prohibited in Denmark under legislation forbidding the sale of food products with added vitamins as threat to public health.
Many well known breakfast cereal and drink brands have already been banned or taken off supermarket shelves after Danish legislation in 2004 restricted foods fortified with extra vitamins or minerals.
But Marmite had escaped notice as an exotic import for a small number of ex-pats until the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration telephoned Abigail's, a Copenhagen shop selling British food, to ban the famous yeast spread.
"I don't eat it myself, I don't like it but Marmite was one of our best selling products. Not a day goes by without someone coming in and asking for it," said Marianne Ørum, the shop owner.
"All the English people here are shaking their heads in disbelief and say that it is insane. I agree but it is the law. It's becoming impossible to run a business in this country. We are not allowed to do anything anymore. It is the way Denmark is going."
The shop has now started a "Bring back Marmite" campaign to overturn a ban that is seen as discriminating against Britons living and working Denmark.
Lyndsay Jensen, a Yorkshire born graphic designer working in Copenhagen, told the British ex-pat RedHerring.dk website, that Britons would carry on spreading Marmite on their toast, even if it meant smuggling it in to Denmark.
"They don't like it because it's foreign," she said. "But if they want to take my Marmite off me they'll have to wrench it from my cold dead hands."
The sale of any foodstuff with the "addition of vitamins, minerals and other substances" must be first approved by the Danish authorities after a health scare over their effect on children or pregnant women when combined with other foods with high vitamin levels.
A spokesman for the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration said: "I cannot comment on the Marmite case because our expert is away until Thursday."