The Australian government is proposing banning the sale of Vegemite in some communities as it is being used to make alcohol.
Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion said the iconic spread is a “precursor to misery”, as it is contributing to alcohol addiction in some remote communities.
He said the product is being bought in bulk in order to make moonshine, sometimes in large quantities.
In some remote communities alcohol is banned due to widespread alcohol addiction problems.
The minister said that in some cases, children are not attending school due to hangovers and that Vegemite is increasingly a common factor in domestic violence cases.
He said in a statement:
Addiction of any type is a concern, but communities, especially where alcohol is banned, must work to ensure home brewing of this type does not occur.
Prime minister Tony Abbott told reporters in Brisbane that he did not wish to impose strict regulations on Vegemite:
The last thing I want to do is have a 'Vegemite Watch'.
Vegemite, quite properly, is for most people a reasonably nutritious spread on your morning toast or on your sandwiches.
Correct application of Vegemite according to Prime Minister Abbott (Photo: Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
There are 19 communities in which alcohol is limited or banned in Queensland, and in 2013 the provincial government said it was considering removing the bans due to an increase in homemade alcohol production.
Vegemite was first produced in 1922 and is derived predominately from brewers' yeast extract, a key ingredient in the production of beer and ale.