Lay off my mate Marmite!

CRITICISM: Author Maggie Hall has written to the Danish government in an attempt to overturn the Marmite ban.
CRITICISM: Author Maggie Hall has written to the Danish government in an attempt to overturn the Marmite ban.

Religion, politics and Marmite – three topics so divisive you could start a war over them.

Love it or hate it, Marmite has been around for centuries and was a key part of humanitarian food packs sent to prisoners during both world wars.

However, the Danish government may consider banning the gooey spread amid health fears related to additives in fortified products.

Bizarrely, to sell Marmite in Denmark retailers would have to get a licence from the Veterinary and Food Administration.

A shop in Copenhagen was recently asked to remove Marmite from its shelves by Danish authorities.

Marmite aficionado Maggie Hall, a journalist who originally comes from Cleckheaton, wrote The Mish Mash Dictionary of Marmite: an anecdotal A-Z of Tar in a Jar, a definitive guide to the foodstuff and believes the Danes have got it wrong.

“If nothing else, this action by the Danish authorities totally underlines the way the mere mention of Marmite triggers an extraordinary response in the Brits,” she told the Guardian from her Washington home.

“It’s a buzz-word that brings out such extreme emotions and actions – all, of course, centred around love and hate.

“When the Danish debacle broke it made headlines and the social networking sites just went bonkers.

“Half-a-dozen new Facebook sites were set up declaring war and organising an Ex-Pats Marmite Day in Copenhagen on June 6.”

The ban covers fortified foods, like Bovril and some cereals.

But unlike other fortified foods, Marmite contains five Vitamin-Bs – four are naturally found in yeast-extract – with B-12 Cyanocobalamin added to the mix.

“They’ve got this wrong,” said Maggie. “On the day the news-waves were alive with the cry to liberate Denmark from the strangle-hold of Marmite bureaucracy I mailed a copy of the book to the Danish VFA.

“I’m under no illusion it will change minds – but they’ll get an entertaining read. Even if I do say it myself.”

Closer to home, Matthew Gill, 27, from Birkenshaw, believes that Marmite was a contributing factor to the break up of his last relationship.

“My ex-girlfriend loved Marmite and she’d always be putting it in sandwiches and would leave knives covered in the stuff all over the kitchen,” he said.

“I hate the smell, the feel, the taste and the sight of it.”