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Cheers - AE

Friday, 27 May 2011

You either love it or you hate it

Not Marmite, though of course that's true and personally I despise it with it every fibre of my being - I've long since been assimilated by the Australian Borg (that's not a Collective - THIS is a Collective) into eating Vegemite anyway. No, I'm talking about the main stream media's tendency to print a load of misleading bollocks to beat up a non-story into something that they can fill half a page of dead tree with. You'd probably love it if you have paper and ink to sell, but I hate media beat ups. There should be plenty going on in the world for the MSM to print and get outraged about without having to resort to making something out of not a lot.

And so it turns out for Denmark's Marmite ban, which appears to be not really a ban at all according to The Grocer (I owe a H/T somewhere but I found this on a page I'd never been to before while Googling at random and going from links to links to links, and now can't remember where I spotted it). En bloc:
Danish authorities insist the country has not banned Marmite, contrary to UK press reports.

The famously divisive spread was reported to have been the victim of a ban on food products containing added vitamins.

But Danish regulators said retailers could sell fortified products if they gained approval from food marketing authorities. The retailer concerned had withdrawn Marmite from sale rather than submit an application, sources told The Grocer’s sister publication Food Manufacture.

“What happened in this case was that a local control officer in Aalborg informed the company selling the product that Marmite has added vitamins and the company should make an application for approval,” said Jens Therkel Jensen of the Danish Food & Veterinary Administration.

“So the company decided to stop selling the product.”
Are the Danes being ridiculously over-protective and nannying? Weeeeeeell, yes, yes of course they are. I mean, licensing foodstuffs? Yeah, I know almost every country does it but it's all so bloody unnecessary if you simply tell your citizens that they're wholly responsible for what they put in their mouths. As for getting all worried about a little extra vit B or folic acid or whatever, it's not like it's a secret. Look, Marmite could add polonium-210 to the bloody stuff as long as they said so on the label. Yes you can overdose on vitamins, especially if you're also eating vitamin supplement tablets like Smarties, but then that's what plastering RDAs all over the bottles of vitamins is for. Denmark isn't suggesting that - gasp - that actually doesn't do a lot of good, is it?

They'd certainly be acting like it if they felt that Danes needed even further protection from themselves in the shape of a ban on Marmite because of a few extra nutrients, but it seems like all they really want is for businesses to jump through some administrative hoops, no doubt with various fees for licences, approvals, permits or whatever. It's dumb, I'm not arguing that, but it's more an example of being so hidebound that both business and consumer choice ends up being restricted rather than one of insane nanny-statism. However, while the lamestream media (thanks Bill) are so happy to get their cocks in a knot over nannying that they see bans where there isn't really a ban as such they don't seem to be too bothered by a regulatory environment that makes selling a perfectly harmless (though revolting) product so much of a pain in the arse that the company simply gives up.

There might be a story in that somewhere, but what would I know?
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