Vegemite Gets Australian Foreign Minister Questioned at U.S. Customs

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Ian Waldie / Getty Images

Do not come between Kevin Rudd and his vegemite.

Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd had a run-in with U.S. border officials on Sunday after flying from Mexico to New York when he attempted to bring his Aussie spread into the big red, white and blue.

(MORE: The Vegemite Mess)

U.S. customs, notorious for being one of the strictest in the world, stopped Rudd en route to the United Nations General Assembly in the Big Apple. Unsure what vegemite was – a liquid, perhaps? – they questioned him. Rudd joked that he needed “foreign ministerial intervention,” though it turns out later the Mexican Foreign Service helped him get the vegemite on the plane. Nothing wrong with bringing a little slice of home when you’re that far away, I suppose.

Vegemite is an extremely popular Australian spread made from yeast extract used for breakfast. Imagine a paste that reminiscently tastes like soy sauce splayed on top of butter and toast. It would probably be an acquired taste for most Americans. Rudd mentioned that he had to explain to airport staff that it was “…good for you & I ate it for breakfast. They then waved me through.”

Hey, at least Rudd didn’t try to smuggle raw French cheese through his baby’s diaper bag to end up in an underground gourmand club, which is something else entirely. Yeah, I saw that episode of No Reservations.

PHOTOS: Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, Part II

Erica Ho is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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