Unilever on unauthorised Danish Marmite sales: “We are innocent”

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Marmite could be back on Danish shelves in three months...if Unilever applies for permission
Marmite could be back on Danish shelves in three months...if Unilever applies for permission

Related tags B vitamins

Marmite, recently withdrawn from the Danish market after it became apparent the fortified, yeast breakfast spread did not possess a fortified food authorisation under the Scandinavian country’s strict laws, could be back on-market in three months, Danish authorities have said.

Unilever is in discussion with the relevant agency, the Danish Food and Veterinary Administration (DVFA), about the registration situation that prompted the product to be withdrawn from the shelves of a boutique retailer last month.

Marmite is fortified with thiamin​ (vitamin B1), riboflavin​ (vitamin B2), niacin​ (vitamin B3), vitamin B12​ and folic acid​ (vitamin B9).

Innocent

DVFA spokesperson Jens Therkel Jensen said dialogue with Unilever revealed the Dutch multinational was unaware Marmite had been on-sale in Denmark, hence the lack of an application.

“The product was being imported by a small retailer,” ​Therkel Jensen told this publication. “According to Unilever they are an innocent party in this.”

The retailer has ceased selling Marmite.

Therkel Jensen said Danish law prohibited the sale of fortified foods that did not possess a registration, and pointed to a list of foods that had won registrations including sterol-fortified margarines, energy drinks and vitamin waters.

Individuals could import non-registered products for personal use but commercial activity at any level – even for a boutique retailer selling British goods – was forbidden.

“Unilever have said they are considering whether they will apply,” ​Therkel Jensen said.

Unilever would not confirm whether they would apply for a registration or not.

Therkel Jensen said, contrary to some press reports, there was no record of a registration application from Kraft, the manufacturer of Vegemite, a similar spread originating in Australia.

He affirmed that two other fortified products, Ovaltine and Horlicks, did not possess permits to sell in Denmark.

Case-by-case

The DVFA said its National Food Institute assessed each application on a “case-by-case” ​basis.

The purpose of the risk assessment is to ensure, that the fortified product can be eaten safely by all parts of the population,”​ the DVFA said. More information about its fortified food policies can be found here.

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2 comments

Paul, I’m worried after reading your post...

Posted by furio brighenti,

Ghosh, we are in serious troubles without Marmite to help us fight this degenerative disease’s pandemics....

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useful idiots? No, not even useful.

Posted by Paul Clayton,

A particularly glaringly obvious example of regulatory ignorance and stupidity, in the same league as the Wolfberry saga. Empires often end in a bureaucratic morass; EFSA and our very own FSA continue to fiddle while Rome, Brussels and Athens burn and the nutritionally-related pandemics of degenerative disease continue.

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