Kevin Rudd, the Australian Foreign minister found himself in a sticky situation at a New York airport when he was found with a jar of Vegemite in his hand luggage.

Customs officials flagged up the suspicious liquid in the baggage Rudd had taken onto his flight from Mexico City to New York, but explained to the authorities that it was meant for his breakfast. US diplomats helped him pass through.

The popular yeast extract, often spread on toasted bread – which is similar to Marmite, is tricky to find at grocery stores in the United States.

Rudd announced his Vegemite misadventure on Twitter: "Only problem travelling to NY is that they tried to confiscate our Vegemite at the airport. Needed Foreign Ministerial intervention,"

"Airport staff were surprised when I said it is good for you and I ate it for breakfast. They then waved me through."

Australians have a fierce loyalty to the Vegemite brand, and over 22 million jars are sold each year. The brand has become a symbol for Australian patriotism and has been around since 1923.

Earlier this year US president Barack Obama caused some controversy when he tasted the savory spread and declared it 'horrible'. Australian Prime Minister, on her visit to the United States in March this year, defended Vegemite, advising that it was best to spread it thinly.