He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich.
Well not it seems if you are one of the near 100,000 Australian and New Zealand expatriates in the US who are officially up in arms at crazy US border guards searching them for Vegemite. The reason? Vegemite has fallen foul of an obscure US dietary law that bans folate, one of its ingredients, from anything other than bread and cereals. Folate is a highly dangerous compound, necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells. This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. In fact, and this is where it gets bizarre, since 1998, food manufacturers in the US have been required to add folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, corn meals, pastas, rice, and other grain products. These regulations were specifically targeted to reduce the risk of birth defects in newborns. So go figure why its not allowed in Vegemite.
But I have a suggestion for you: they're not yet onto the fact that marmite also contains folic acid - so just take your marmite in instead and look the border guard straight in the eye when you deny the presence of vegemite in your bags. After all, right-thinking people, understand that marmite is the superior product.
I do wonder if this will create some real issues for customs/immigration:
- Will it now be a crime to joke in line, "Do you want to see my vegemite sandwich?"
- Will jars of vegemite left unattended in airports be blown up by bomb squads?
- And if an overzealous border guard conducts a cavity search, how will they know if its vegemite?