Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Denmark bans marmite

Lay down your knives and forks and step away from the table... slowly!

Yes, folks, that black gunk made by Unilever for the spreading on toast and the flavouring of savoury dishes has been banned in Denmark. It's an acquired taste and the Danes haven't managed it.

Forbidden fruit yeast by-product

Why ban it? Well, apparently it contains added vitamins and minerals and we can't be having that, can we? That may seem odd but actually the logic is sound. People should be getting their essential nutrients by eating a balanced diet, not as additions to a by-product of beer production.

However one cannot help but feel this is xenophobia in action. Marmite is foreign. In fact it's British; and has been made in the UK for more than a century. Colonists have taken a taste for the stuff to the ends of the Earth, if not the actual marmite itself, and Australia and New Zealand both have their own version of the product.

Banning the spread is quite admirable really. The Danes are showing distinct signs of reasserting their national independence. Earlier this month they re-introduced border controls and effectively opted out of the Schengen agreement which allows free movement in Europe. About ten percent of their population is immigrant and it seems they've had enough. Nationalism is taking over, in the form of the Danish People's Party - third largest party in parliament and now calling quite a lot of the shots. The ban on marmite is likely to be down to the DPP.

Of course, the BNP has had its own marmite controversy. Unilever sued, money was paid. So this blog has no objection to the biter being bit but the take-home from this is really the emergence of nationalism in Europe not the banning of a spread.

1 comment:

chefdave said...

Surely this sort of action contravenes EU law, I forsee Unilever preparing for another court case!

Legality aside, this is where I take issue with nationalism. If BNP members decided to boycott Danish bacon in favour of a British alternative I wouldn't be concerned, but blanket bans impose unnecessary restrictions upon others and undermine their liberties.

Banning foreign goods is a poor way of fostering national pride, but a guess politicians in all countries like their shortcuts.