Licence plan to fight Marmite ban
Published 25/05/2011 | 20:13
Marmite's makers have been urged to apply for a licence to sell the product in Denmark and end a temporary ban on the spread which has upset its fans living in the country.
Liberal Democrat MEP Liz Lynne, who represents Burton upon Trent, in Staffordshire, where Marmite has been made since 1902, said: "I was appalled to hear the initial reports of a Danish ban of this much-loved British product.
"I immediately took my Danish (MEP) colleagues to task, only to find that no licence had been granted in Denmark for the sale of Marmite in the first place."
She went on: "It is vital that either the importer or the UK producer of Marmite applies for a licence as soon as possible to test whether Marmite would really be banned or not under Danish legislation."
The MEP said she had urged Marmite manufacturer Unilever to submit an application, adding: "Marmite lovers should be able to enjoy their favourite spread wherever they are in the EU."
The application could still be rejected, however, if the Danish authorities deem the product contains more added vitamins then allowed by national food laws.
EU officials confirmed that there are no standardised Europe-wide regulations on such additives, but the European Commission raised the issue with the Danish authorities, to be told that the temporary ban has been imposed because the importer has not applied for the necessary marketing licence for Marmite.
A commission spokesman explained: "There are currently no harmonised EU rules governing the maximum amounts of vitamins and minerals that may be added to foods. Consequently, member states can set, through national legislation, the maximum and minimum amounts of vitamins and minerals used in food supplements."
Denmark is one of a handful of EU countries requiring a licence before a "fortified food" can be sold to the public.
Marmite, made from yeast extract, is in that category as it is enriched with vitamins including B6 and B12. Voluntary fortification of foods is allowed in the UK, on condition that the product meets general food safety standards and has all ingredients on the label.