Brand bosses have been urged to help get British products back on shelf in Denmark following the ban on the sale of fortified foods such as Marmite without a ­licence.

Danish ­retailers have been told they cannot sell products including Ovaltine, Horlicks, Shreddies and Farley's Rusks unless they have been approved by Danish ­food authorities a move that has also hit exports hard.

One exporter said his sales to Denmark had fallen almost 75% by value since last month, when Danish food chiefs ordered the removal of products including Marmite from shelves.

UK-based exporter Rayfield Exports said its Danish business had fallen from two pallets a month to about a quarter of a pallet. MD Stuart Rayfield said it was not practical or cost-effective for importers and exporters to apply to get products approved, and called on businesses such as Marmite owner Unilever to seek approval. "It's ­crazy that a business with the power of Unilever won't do this," he said.

Unilever said it had no plans to market Marmite in Denmark.

Marianne Orum, owner of ­ex-pat shop Abigail's in Copenhagen, said there were about 50 products she would like to stock but could not because of the regulations.

"In addition to the British products, there are many American and South African items," she said. "We barely bother with American goods now as we have to order at least a pallet and there aren't enough products we can sell to make it worthwhile.

"It is a law that promotes big business. It is getting harder and harder for a small company to operate."

Despite evidence to the contrary, Danish food chiefs insisted they had not banned fortified products. However, they confirmed products could not be sold without the ­approval of the Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA), whose responsibility it is to determine whether the vitamin and mineral content poses "a health risk to the Danish population". The regulations were introduced "decades ago", said DFVA deputy head of nutrition Jens Therkel Jensen, who denied there had been an increase in their enforcement in ­recent months.

Application for approval is usually made by the company responsible for marketing the product, whether the producer, importer or exporter. Many outlawed products are not ­marketed in Denmark by the brand owner.

Individual retailers can also seek approval to sell fortified products. However, the DKK8,000 (£960) ­application cost and six-month approval time are considered prohibitive for many small retailers.

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