Homeland Stupidity

Vegemite ban update

Last week I reported on apparently overblown news that the U.S. was interdicting Vegemite, the national food of Australia, at the border. At the time, I said I was going to order some Vegemite from Australia to see what happens, and today, something happened.

Outraged Australian newspapers reported last week that people entering the U.S. were being searched for Vegemite and that U.S. vendors who sold imported Vegemite locally couldn’t obtain stock, because the U.S. was refusing to allow it to come in.

Later, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration denied that it had called for a ban on Vegemite. The news even made it onto Internet urban legend site snopes.com, though they did jump the gun in calling the ban false; see below.

But before that news came in, I had already gone to every U.S. retailer I could find, both locally and online, to buy some Vegemite. None had it in stock. So I had some sent in directly from down under.

It arrived today.

Much to my surprise, Customs and Border Protection didn’t even bother to open and inspect it. See for yourself.

This is my very own 145g (about 5 oz) tube of Vegemite.

As for the U.S.-based retailers who have been out of stock of Vegemite for some time, well, they’re still out of stock, and still have no idea when they might have more Vegemite available. Kraft Foods has said it has temporarily stopped importing Vegemite while it resolves the issue of folate with the FDA.

Today’s lesson is that you can get anything into the U.S., ban or no ban. Bans just make it more annoying and difficult.

Finally, yes, I did try it. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but I suspect it’s one I’ll likely acquire.