The situation dubbed ‘Marmite-gate’, in which the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration asked a shop to stop selling the fortified British spread, has caused waves of satire and outrage online.
The branded yeast extract, which contains folic acid and vitamin B12, does not comply with 2004 Danish legislation which states: “all foodstuffs that have added vitamins, minerals or other chemicals must not be sold in Denmark without an official exemption.”
The row, which has been reported internationally, all started when Abigail’s – a small shop in Copenhagen catering to homesick expats – was visited by the DVFA. After the ingredients of various products were examined, the shop owners were sent a letter asking them to take Marmite off their shelves until they had secured the relevant approval.
Fans of the spread, which is advertised under the tagline: ‘You either love it or hate it’, took to their Twitter and Facebook pages in outrage at the news, especially after many international media groups wrongly reported that there had been a blanket Marmite ban in Denmark. Some tongue-in-cheek discussion groups called for members to boycott Danish products, such as bacon, butter and lego, or be ‘fearless’ and continue to scoff the spread illegally.
According to the Copenhagen Post, News Thump, a UK spoof website, also ran with the story: “Massive Marmite shipment seized off the coast of Denmark,” reporting how, “Danish security forces say they have seized 18 tonnes of Marmite bound for Copenhagen after a twelve hour gunfight during which at least sixty people were killed.”
Soon after, the DVFA felt compelled to issue a statement: “Neither Marmite nor Vegemite and similar products have been banned by the Danish Food and Veterinary Administration,” the statement read. “However, fortified foods with added vitamins, minerals or other substances cannot be marketed in Denmark unless approved by Danish food authorities.”