Vegemite disputes New Zealand dollar coin found in packet

Posted on 12 Mar 2015 by Tim Brown
Vegemite snack sized packets such as the one which is alleged to have contained a New Zealand dollar coin - image courtesy of Betsy Weber.
Vegemite snack sized packets such as the one which is alleged to have contained a New Zealand dollar coin - image courtesy of Betsy Weber.

Mondelez International, which makes Vegemite in Australia, has disputed claims by a New Zealand woman that a local one dollar coin was found in her Vegemite packet.

The Christchurch woman, who did not want to be named, told Stuff.co.nz that she was about to eat morning tea at work at St Albans Retirement Village in Richmond on Sunday when she opened a breakfast-sized packet of Vegemite and found a New Zealand $1 coin inside.

“When I opened it I saw the object and used a butter knife to inspect it and found out it was a coin,” she said.

However, Julian Polachek, the corporate affairs manager of Mondelez International, said that after a week-long investigation it had come to the conclusion that it was impossible for a coin to get into the product during production.

“Our quality team has examined the photos provided by the consumer and we were unable to identify the source of the coin discovered in the Vegemite portion,” he said.

“Further investigation revealed that it is not physically possible for a coin to pass through our filling lines in production and be deposited into a portion.

Mr Polachek said the filling area used for Vegemite production is protected by covers that prevent foreign matter from entering the product and the filling nozzles are too small for a New Zealand coin to pass through.

“The tight clearances in our product pumps would not allow the coin to enter,” he said.

In addition, said Mr Polachek, the carrying of personal items, such as coins, in the production facility was not permitted and sophisticated metal detectors were used during the manufacturing process.

However, the woman in question told Stuff.co.nz that she didn’t think that the company only looking at the photos then checking its plant did not really constitute an investigation.

“They did not insist that I send them the coin nor the vegemite packet as I still have them with me,” she said.

“I have only spoken to them once, and that was on Monday when all they said was it is an ‘unusual’ find, over and over.

“I myself cannot explain it but I stand by what I saw and assure you 100 per cent it is true.”