Marmite lovers can breathe a sigh of relief with the news
that Sanitarium's earthquake-damaged Christchurch factory
should be given the all-clear by Christmas.
Marmite has been in short supply since the Papanui plant was
shut down by the Canterbury earthquakes, with the situation
being dubbed "Marmageddon".
Christchurch City Council building inspectors were at the
site today to see whether it could get a code of compliance,
and determined one could be issued by Christmas.
Building operations unit manager Ethan Stetson said there was
an issue with an unfinished lift, which would not be
completed until 2013.
However, the council was endeavouring to work around this and
would handle the lift as its own distinct consent.
"This allows Sanitarium to focus on the most critical work to
get the factory back up and running. The lift works will be
handled in the new year," he said.
"At this time we expect to be able to issue a code compliance
certificate before Christmas, enabling access to the
Sanitarium said on its website that council approval would
allow it to start reviewing the functionality of the plant.
"This entails running water through the production pipes to
check the seals and pipes to ensure the functionality of each
part of the plant. We will then pump some bulk stock through
to make sure that it functions well and correct any small
issues that may come up.
"If all goes well, we can then start making bulk stock. Once
we have enough bulk stock, it then has to be blended to
achieve our unique Marmite flavour that Kiwis love. The next
step will be to pack stock to get Marmite back on shelf."
Since the closure of the factory in November last year, the
Marmite Facebook page has attracted 964,000 likes and the
situation has attracted global media attention.
In response, Sanitarium began a "Don't Freak" campaign,
including ads fronted by former All Black coach Graham Henry.
Although Marmite has been off the shelves for months, 2000
jars of British Marmite remain under lock and key after being
confiscated by Customs because Sanitarium claims to own the
Importer Rob Savage is seeking to get his shipment back and
the case is expected to go to the High Court early next year.