• Vegemite has caused controversy in Australia when the Indigenous Affairs Minister was told about reports Indigenous communities were making it to use alcohol (Supplied)Source: Supplied
It turns out the Federal Government is not seeking to place any restrictions on Vegemite, the salty yeast extract which according to a spokesperson for the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion can be used to make home brew.
Danny Teece-Johnson

10 Aug 2015 - 5:56 PM  UPDATED 10 Aug 2015 - 6:54 PM


Danny Teece-Johnson: Yesterday, BBC News quoted the minister as saying, Vegemite was "a precursor to misery" and bought in bulk to make moonshine.

The story went global - but are there any data, facts or science back it up?

Well after two weeks of Goodesy and Imaginary spears, Aboriginal journalists Australia wide were hoping for a quiet week, thinking maybe we can do some po sitive stories for a change? But no, it seems there's no rest for the wicked as we woke up this morning to #Vegemitegate.

Is it even possible to make Vegemite alcohol?
Scientists say it is highly unlikely that alcohol can be made from Vegemite as media were sent into a frenzy Sunday following reports that Indigenous communities were using the yeast extract to make moonshine.

Now this is a classic tale of how a story based on a rumour - with a catchy headline - can snowball into a world wide story, and mainstream media delivers reports like this, reportedly.

So this is how it "reportedly" unfolded.
It seems that the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion heard via word of mouth about the Vegemite crisis.
Despite our requests for proof, he has produced no documents or evidence highlighting the problem.

Nigel then went on the record telling the BBC "that the salty spread is a "precursor to misery". The British Broadcaster splashed it on the front page of its website and next minute Aboriginal Australia is aparrently addicted to the black-stuff and even the PM is coining terms like "Vegemite watch".

According to the Vegemite website, the spread was first produced in 1922 when the Fred Walker Company, "hired a young chemist to develop a spread from one of the richest known natural sources in the Vitamin B group - brewer's yeast".

"So does this mean potatoes need to be banned because they make vodka, rice makes sake, grapes make red wine and apples make cider?"

But according to science writer Signe Cane, Vegemite is about as far from live yeast as you can get.

So it seems nobody from the minister to the BBC or the Australian media bothered to check the facts - never let science get in the way of a sexy headline.

And lets put this into perspective, Vegemite is owned by the Altria Group - once known as Phillip-Morris- and one of the world's largest Tobacco companies.

A former prisoner told NITV News that while Vegemite had been used by inmates to make alcohol in jail, the spread was not the component that produced alcohol. The former prisoner said inmates used a blend of bread, apples and lots of sugar to create alcohol, and added Vegemite for taste.

Now tell me how many people have died from Vegemite addiction?

So does this mean potatoes need to be banned because they make vodka, rice makes sake, grapes make red wine and apples make cider? Just about any item with a high sugar content can make alcohol.

Danny Teece-Johnson, spreading that black salty goodness truth for NITV News.