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Monday
Jun062011

E.coli outbreak: Danish Marmite ban “not so stupid after all”

Less than two weeks ago, the food world was rocked as Danish officials banned the sale of Marmite, a British-manufactured spread rich in Vitamin B. According to authorities, foodstuffs containing high levels of nutrients must first be approved to avoid overdosing on certain vitamins which may lead to excessive healthiness.

British lovers of the salty spread, comparable to the Australian delicacy Vegemite, were outraged at the perceived persecution of the world’s most equally loved and hated food product in a country they would not normally have given two hoots about.

“Just where is Denmark? If it’s in Europe, it’s certainly lost my Eurovision vote. I’m not a fan of Marmite –its taste is comparable to horribly charred badger entrails– but when you so publicly and blatantly defy a British institution in such a way, it makes me want to write a strongly worded letter.” – Alf Hart, typical British man in street

New Zealand, traditionally a large consumer of Marmite, was equally irritated by the Scandinavian kingdom’s “bizarre decision”. Katherine Rich, chief executive of the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council, branded Denmark an “international laughing stock” and removed Queen Margrethe II from her Christmas card list “with immediate effect”.

However, critics have since been made to retract their harsh comments in the wake of an E.coli outbreak affecting German-produced vegetables, which have claimed twenty victims in the past seven days. Although infected cucumbers and beansprouts are thought to have been imported as far and wide as the Czech Republic and Hungary, Denmark are supremely confident their import laws will protect them from the bacterium.

“In our quest to ban each and every food that may be considered ‘healthy’, we have outlawed any fruit or vegetable not produced in Denmark, so you can be certain that all infections found in Danish vegetables are 100% homegrown.” – Røb Frégun, Denmark Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries

Although Denmark’s hospitals continue to be overwhelmed by cases of Vitamin B deficiency such as Wernicke’s encephalopathy, ariboflavinosis and depression, patients are heartened by the fact they are able to consume their genetically modified broccoli safe in the knowledge they are almost completely immune to the E.coli outbreak.

The most ironic aspect of this story is that a great chunk of the population, thought to be as high as 50%, would never have considered Marmite in the least bit nutritious.

“I once tried Marmite and spent the rest of the week in hospital with stomach cramps. Doctors told me the stuff had combined with the HP Sauce I had eaten at lunch and mutated into a new superbug which was literally sucking the nutrients out of my stomach. I buy my mother-in-law a jar of Marmite every Christmas, but have never been able to tempt her into eating one of my saucy sausage sandwiches.” – Alf Hart

Image courtesy Tamorlan, licensed under CCASA 2.5 Generic

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