'Precursor to Misery:' Aussie Pol Wants Vegemite Crackdown

Minister says Vegemite is being used to make moonshine in some communities
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2015 9:24 AM CDT
'Precursor to Misery:' Aussie Pol Wants Vegemite Crackdown
Bottom's up.   (YouTube)

In news that may prompt reanalysis of Men at Work lyrics, an Australian politician is trying to crack down on Vegemite, which the Washington Post calls "the beloved breakfast spread with an aftertaste of sadness." Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion wants to restrict access to Vegemite because aboriginal health groups are reporting that the yeast-based spread is being scooped up in bulk to make moonshine, CNN reports. Describing the iconic spread as a "precursor to misery," Scullion says that Vegemite has been associated with domestic violence cases and even kids showing up to school hungover, the BBC notes. "Businesses in these communities … have a responsibility to report any purchase that may raise their own suspicions," Scullion says.

Alcohol is banned in 19 indigenous Aussie communities due to health and social problems from excessive consumption, CNN notes. In the Northern Territory, where converting Vegemite to hooch is said to be prevalent, some people have been buying up to 20 jars of Vegemite at a time, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. But per WAToday.com, another Australian pol is calling Scullion's attempt to restrict sales "absurd" and "bizarre." And PM Tony Abbott denies Vegemite is to blame for the country's social ills, telling reporters in Queensland yesterday, "This is a deregulatory government and the last thing I want to do is to have a Vegemite watch," per CNN. "Because Vegemite, quite properly, is for most people a reasonably nutritious spread on your morning toast or on your sandwiches." Based on this BuzzFeed taste test, it doesn't look like America will face a Vegemite epidemic anytime soon. (Does anyone in Australia even eat Vegemite anymore?)

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