Customs Tries to Take Aussie Diplomat's Vegemite

They love it Down Under, but we prefer peanut butter

By Greg Wilson
|  Monday, Sep 19, 2011  |  Updated 12:37 PM CDT
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Customs Tries to Take Aussie Diplomat's Vegemite

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Australia's foreign minister said American authorities tried to confiscate his supply of Vegemite as he entered the U.S.

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Men at Work sang about it, and it's Australia's favorite sandwich spread, but U.S. Customs agents had no idea what Vegemite was when a Down Under diplomat had a jar in his carry on bag.

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd was on his way from Mexico to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly when he was stopped by U.S. Customs and questioned over the sandwich spread, which authorities feared could be a dangerous liquid, according to the Telegraph.

"Only problem travelling (sic) to NY is that they tried to confiscate our Vegemite at the airport," Rudd later Tweeted. "Needed Foreign Ministerial intervention."

Rudd's office later said officials from Mexico's Foreign Service came to his aid and helped get the Vegemite on to the plane. 

Vegemite, a spread made of yeast extract, was invented in 1923 and has long been a staple in Australian pantries. Men at Work's hit "Land Down Under" features the lyric: "He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich."

But Americans either have never heard of it or hate it. President Obama, during a March visit from Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, pronounced it "horrible."'

Actor Hugh Jackman served some up in January to Oprah Winfrey, who said "I like it." But she was probably just being nice.

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