Australians buy over 22 million jars of Vegemite every year, says its maker, Kraft Food Company, yet these days the salty spread is causing arguments that have nothing to do with its famously salty taste. Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said Vegemite is being purchased in bulk to make home brew in some Aboriginal communities where alcohol is prohibited, reports The Australian.

Scullion noted that some people have been using the product, which is made from brewer’s yeast, to ferment home-made alcohol in large quantities, sometimes in backyard bathtubs. Adults and even young children are getting drunk on the brew, which often gets mixed with orange juice for added zest.

“The last thing I want to see is a Vegemite watch going on because Vegemite, quite properly, is for most people a reasonably nutritious spread on your morning toast or on your sandwiches,” said Prime Minster Tony Abbott at a recent Brisbane press conference. He noted that he’s not “deeply familiar with” the issue of using Vegemite to ferment alcohol, adding, “obviously in many remote communities there is an issue of substance abuse more generally.”

However, Scullion is familiar with the issue and described the vegetable spread as “a precursor to misery” in dry communities across Queensland and the Northern Territory, where people are buying 20 jars of Vegemite at a time in order to brew alcohol, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Alcohol use in these areas of Australia has been disputed for some years. Under Australian law, Aborigines in Western Australia and the Northern Territory were not granted the right to drink liquor until 1964, according to a report issued by the Northern Territory Drug and Alcohol Bureau Department of Health and Community Service, while prohibitions on supplying liquor remained until 1967. By the end of the 1970s, Aboriginal people had full access to alcohol. Beginning in the late 1980s, various deterrants, measures, and restrictions were introduced to once again prevent use or over-use of alcohol among Australia's First People. Currently, 19 communities across Queensland limit or prohibit alcohol use, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Vegemite website claims the product contains thiamin B1, 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of riboflavin B2, niacin B3, and 50 percent of the recommended daily intake of folate. Generally, the B vitamins help your body perform its cellular processes, form red blood cells, and make energy from the food you eat.

The government will not place restrictions on sale of the spread in any regions of Australia, Abbott stated. However Scullion suggested businesses in Aboriginal communities have a responsibility to report unusual or suspicious purchases.