The hard line taken on the Marmite trade by Danish law-makers flies in the face of experience and could lead to lucrative new revenue streams for organised crime, says Torsten Hesselbjerg, who was the Rigspolitichefen (head of the Danish police) for eight years until 2008.
Hesselbjerg, who was known for his liberal stance on spread control, warned his successor, Jens Henrik Højbjerg, and the politicians behind this move that without also addressing the demand, the prohibition of Marmite would simply drive the supply of the yeast extract underground and line the pockets of illegal spread dealers.
‘When Marmite was sold through Spredmonopolet (the Danish government spreads and condiments monopoly), we could control quality, stay in touch with users and gain tax revenue. Now we have the situation where, at best, we will see thousands of ‘Toast Tourists’ travelling to the UK to binge on Marmite, and at worst, we will strengthen the hand of the Danish Mafiaen.’
Hesselbjerg went on to point out that the ban will also increase costs and delays at Danish airports and border crossings, as trained Marmite sniffers will have to be employed to halt the illicit flow of the sticky brown stuff into the country.
‘I can imagine any number of ways a determined Marmite smuggler might try to bring in small deposits of the spread into Denmark about their person or smeared on their laundry, and it’s not a pleasant thought.’
While raising the possibility of dealers cutting the Marmite with other substances, such as breadcrumbs or bits of margarine to increase their profits, the retired police chief further warned that Marmite users, by having to come into contact with criminals, may be encouraged to move on to harder spreads, like Patum Peperium, known on the streets as ‘gentleman’s relish’.
Danish prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen defended the crack down on Marmite, however, saying that the bitter salty paste was a threat to the Danish way of life and a distraction from making hard-core lego porn and winding up Muslims.
Golgo13 (with duly doffed cap for waylandsmithy)