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Marmite, a yeast extract, shown in a squeezable jar, is an acquired taste. ((Matt Dunham/Associated Press) )

It was not your typical spread of Marmite.   

A tanker carrying more than 20 tonnes of yeast extract — the key ingredient in that uniquely British spread Marmite — overturned Monday evening on a major British highway, spilling the pungent-smelling liquid onto the road.   

The liquid has the same unique smell of Marmite and was being transported to the Marmite factory in Burton-on-Trent in central England to be turned into the black sticky paste that generations of Britons have spread on hot buttered toast.   

South Yorkshire Police said the accident happened after the tanker collided with a motorhome on the M1 highway that links London with north England. The highway was closed overnight in both directions during the cleanup.

Marmite is a widely popular British food that provokes strong feelings. Those who dislike it cannot bear to even smell the contents of a jar.

With files from CBC News