(NEW YORK) -- Kevin Rudd was briefly detained by U.S. Customs officials after they noticed a suspicious-looking jar he had with him that was filled with Vegemite.
Rudd – traveling to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly — jokingly tweeted that he “needed foreign ministerial intervention” to get Vegemite past customs. “Airport staff were surprised when I said it is good for you, and I ate it for breakfast. They then waved me through.”
Unfamiliar with Vegemite? Think of it as the Australian version of peanut butter and jelly, with the taste of neither peanut butter nor jelly. It is an extremely popular dark brown food paste made from yeast extract that is put on sandwiches and toast.
Some have compared the taste of Vegemite to Vaseline. President Obama simply called it “horrible.”
While Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard touted their “shared values” and “close bond” earlier this year, Obama risked creating a rift when he blasted Vegemite during a question and answer session with a group of 11th graders.
“It’s like a quasi-vegetable byproduct paste. That you smear on your toast for breakfast,” Obama said, adding, with sarcasm, ”Sounds good doesn’t it?”
Gillard shot back, saying that this byproduct of beef manufacturing should be applied lightly, and that was where most people went wrong. “You don’t put it on like jam. … You do it very lightly and spread it very thinly.”
It’s unclear whether Vegemite will be on the menu when the president travels to Australia in November. But this week at the U.N., the strong bond between both countries could be tested. Like many of America’s strongest allies, Australia – which is not on the Security Council – may have to take a position on giving Palestine U.N. membership. This is something both the U.S. and Israel strongly oppose, fearing it could derail an already stalled peace process.
Rudd, before traveling to New York, recently wrote to Gillard recommending that Australia abstain in any vote that may be taken up by the General Assembly.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio