A lot of food that comes from the US is banned in other countries (mostly due to additives), but did you know that there are quite a few foods that you won’t find on American soil? Some of them make perfect sense, and others are downright weird. Find out what you’re missing out on.
That’s right, the food that is so celebrated in Scotland is banned in the US. This Scottish meat contains up to 15% sheep lung which is banned in the US because it can carry dangerous diseases. Now, surely no one would want to eat this, but if you did, you’d have to book a flight to the UK.
2. Black pudding
Much like haggis, black pudding contains sheep lung. Black pudding is typically found on a full english breakfast along with eggs, toast, bacon, hash browns and baked beans. Black pudding is a type of sausage made from pig/sheep blood and is actually quite tasty despite the description.
3. Foie gras
In the US, production of meat products that involves cruel or inhumane treatment is banned. Details are not needed here, honestly, just google it. The US is not the only place where foie gras is banned though, it is banned in most of Europe. However, the french still go nuts over a plate of this stuff.
4. Kinder eggs
This one is pretty bizarre. This little chocolate egg that has a toy inside is a favorite in lunchboxes in Europe. However, the US has decided that have a non-food product inside a food product is dangerous. All this fuss seems to be for nothing though, because the small toy is inside a bright yellow capsule that you definitely wouldn’t eat.
5. Unpasteurized raw milk
Unless you’re making the milk yourself from your own personal cow, it is illegal for Americans to consume any unpasteurized milk. This is because milk needs to be pasteurized in order to make sure all the nasty germs are out. This is illegal in most places, apart from the UK and Ireland, who apparently like their milk straight from the cow.
6. Horse meat
US horse meat is illegal because of the drugs that are administered to the horses. Although, horse meat is actually quite popular in China and is apparently delicious with fried rice! Ever heard someone say that it “tastes just like chicken”? Well, I think America will just order the chicken fried rice instead.
7. Cazu marsu
The Italians call this a delicacy, although, you’ll probably think “delicacy” is a loose term when you find out what it is. It’s cheese that is literally infested with live maggots. Over here, it’s banned! Not just because it’s gross but because, if the maggots aren’t killed properly when you eat them, you could become very unwell. No surprises there.
8. Ackee fruit
Ackee fruit is the national fruit of Jamaica; however, you won’t find it is the US. Some Jamaican stores will sell a canned/dried variety of this fruit, but fresh ackee fruit contains poison in its seeds and husks when it’s not fully ripe. If you eat the fruit even a day or two before it is ready, you could become seriously unwell.
9. Shark fins
Although you could import shark fins from other countries if you wanted to make shark fin soup; shark finning is actually illegal in US waters. This is for no reason other than the fact that shark finning is an incredibly cruel and needless practice. This dish acts as a status symbol in Chinese cultures but is very cruel nonetheless.
10. Beluga caviar
Beluga caviar is the eggs of the beluga sturgeon. This fish that lives in the Caspian Sea lays beautiful pearl-like eggs that would definitely make any dish look fancy and is renowned for it’s delicate taste. However, the beluga sturgeon is an endangered animal so the hunting and selling of it is illegal in the US and many other countries.
11. Japanese puffer fish
The reason that puffer fish are illegal to catch or eat in the US is because you actually have to be trained in order to cook it. Fuzu, as it’s called in Japan, is a delicacy; however, the puffer fish is poisonous if not prepared or cooked correctly. Not to mention the fact that they are literally covered in spikes.
Ortolan are are tiny little songbirds that are deemed a delicacy in France in a dish called “ortolan bunting”. Much like foie gras, the way the birds are killed for this dish is extremely cruel (google it if you have a tough stomach). So, the reason it is banned in the US and many other places is simply to protect this adorable little bird species.
13. Sea turtles
Everyone knows that turtles are an endangered species, however, did you know this is partly because people eat them? Apparently, in some places it is custom to make a stew out of the meat and serve it inside the turtle’s shell. Because of their endangered status, however, it is illegal to hunt or import sea turtle meat in the US.
14. Sassafras oil
Sassafras oil used to be one of the main components of root beer, however, it was banned in the 1960s. This is because the oil had carcinogenic and hallucinogenic effects. This means that not only was it dangerous, but it had the potential to make you see funny things if you drank enough root beer.
15. Queen conch
Queen conch are highly sought after for their meat. They are a beautiful crustacean that lives in the Carribean Sea and, therefore, also in Florida. Because so many people started hunting this fish in the sunshine state, the consumption or catching of this fish had to be made illegal in the whole of the US.
In 1980, famous New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme publicized a recipe for blackened redfish. This caused a bit of a craze and the authorities had to make redfish hunting and production illegal in the whole of the US because the entire species became endangered. However, it is still legal in Mississippi.
Absinthe used to have levels of thujone in it, which is a hallucinogenic substance. Because of this, the strong alcoholic drink was banned for over 100 years in the US. However, it was introduced back into the country when scientists figured out that you’d die of alcohol poisoning before you felt any of the other effects.
Bushmeat is any meat that comes from a wild animal, usually Africa. At European markets, you’ll sometimes find novelty burger stalls that sell crocodile, ostrich and even antelope burgers. However, Americans will have to stick to their beef burgers because the US ban this type of meat due to the risk of it carrying the Ebola virus.
19. Bird’s nest soup
This is a delicacy in Chinese cuisine, and if you’re picturing a soup full of twigs, you’d be wrong. It’s actually the nest of a bird called a swiftlet that makes a nest from it’s own saliva. This delicacy is banned in the US because the nests take the birds months to build and eating them contributes to their endangerment.
20. Chilean sea bass
Chilean sea bass is a low calorie, high protein white fish that can be cooked to create a beautiful meal. However, you won’t get it in any restaurant in the US. This is because this fish actually has a high mercury content – which is toxic if over-consumed. The FDA recommend that adults only eat two portions of this fish once a month.
21. Èpoisses cheese
This cheese is so smelly, that it’s illegal to have it on public transport in Paris. The cheese is soaked in brandy, causing the milk to sour, and therefore causing the smell. Due to the way the cheese is made, it is not pasteurized and is therefore illegal in the US. Anyways, why would you want to eat something that’s even banned in Paris for it’s scent?
Another one bite’s the dust. If you’re looking to making an authentic French cheeseboard, you’ll need to book a flight to France. Camembert is made by mixing a certain bacteria with warm cows milk, a process which the US has decided could give you a sore tummy. No wine and cheese tonight, guys.
23. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
Okay, you’re probably thinking that you saw these tasty treats in the gas station literally five minutes ago. However, school districts in Illinois, New Mexico and California have banned Cheetos due to their unnatural colour, additives, and just general messiness. It’s not surprising though, as Cheetos are banned entirely in Germany.
24. Swan meat
You might look at this majestic animal and wonder why anyone would ever want to eat it? Well, if you live in the US you’ll never have to because it is illegal to hunt or cook with swan meat. However, swan meat was a significant part of many indigenous tribes’ diets. Swans are an endangered animal and are therefore protected under hunting laws.
25. Junk food
Obviously, junk food is not illegal in the whole of the US! However, lots of schools are banning junk food and soda. In California, children are not allowed to bring fast food products or fizzy pop to school in the hopes that they will choose healthier snacks and lifetsyles. Betcha that one gave you a fright.
26. Mont d’Or
This is a very soft cheese that’s popular in, that’s right, France. It’s another cheese that’s made with unpasteurized cow’s milk and because that’s banned in the US, so are all of the really goos smelly cheeses. This is a good thing for those who aren’t fond of their feet-like odor, but not for those who are fond of a charcuterie board!
27. Lazy cakes
A lazy cake is a chocolate brownie dosed with melatonin designed to calm you down and even put you to sleep. It comes wrapped in a package with a cartoon on it and contains more than 24 times the European recommended amount of melatonin. Due to the substances inside these funny brownies, they were banned in Massachusetts and Arkansas.
28. Mirabelle plums
While it’s perfectly legal to grow mirabelles for your own use, the FDA bans the sale of them in the US. This is not because they are dangerous, but because of an agreement with the French government that protects the agricultural economy in the area that these delicious plums are grown.
29. Authentic brie
You guessed it, authentic brie also involves unpasteurized cow’s milk! You’re probably thinking that you’ve definitely had a baked brie in the US, however, if you want brie that’s made properly, you’ll have to travel to about 35 miles east of Paris to a town called Meaux, where brie originates from.
30. Four Loko
Four Loko is a popular drink among college students due to its range of flavors and high alcohol content. However, it contains quite a bit of alcohol that’s coupled with a high level of caffeine. It was banned in Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Michigan and Ohio after several college students were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning.
For a long time, mangosteens were banned in the US. This fruit is popular in Asia and tastes like a combination of mango, strawberry and peach. It’s white centre is is tangy and flower shaped. This exotic fruit was banned in the states because of fears that the it would carry Asian fruit flies and potentially cause an outbreak.
32. Tonka beans
Tonka beans look a bit like dates and are very sought after by chefs due to their unique flavor profile. They are said to taste like a combination of cinnamon, cherry and vanilla. The beans are very versatile and apparently the flavor changes whether they are prepared hot or cold. Unfortunately, high consumption rates of tonka beans can lead to liver damage.
33. Mustard oil
Mustard oil can be found in some Indian food shops, however, the bottle will explain that it is apparently for “external use only”. This oil’s tangy flavor makes it a popular ingredient in Indian cooking, however, it contains large amount of erucic acid. This fatty acid is said to cause heart problems, so has been banned in the US.
34. Kangaroo meat
Much like bushmeat, kangaroo meat is banned due to the fact that it’s production cannot be regulated in the US. Australians would say that this is a real shame, because apparently kangaroo meat is really nice. They even eat “kanga-bangas” which are kangaroo sausages!
35. Pigs’ blood cake
This is a popular street food in Taiwan and is made from sticky rice, peanut powder and steamed pigs’ blood. Taiwanese street food is renowned for being absolutely delicious, but you’ll have to get it on an actual street over there because Americans are concerned about the health implications of eating animal blood products.
36. Indian rice
You won’t get any Indian rice in the US – but this is not because America banned it for health reasons. It’s actually because India has decided not to sell rice to any other countries! The price of exporting it is causing the price to rise for Indian locals. If you want authentic rice, you’ll have to catch a flight all the way over to India.
37. West Indian locust
This may sound like a bug, but it’s actually a plant. The fruit from the plant has an equally unpleasant name; “stinking toe”. This is because of its shape and foul odor after you crack open the pod. If you try and take this fruit through the airport, you’ll be swiftly stopped by the TSA and, if you’ve ever smelt it, you’ll know it’s not an easy fruit to hide.
38. Canadian tomatoes
This may seem like an odd one because the US and Canada are joined together, so surely the tomatoes are the same? Nope. Because the fruit and vegetables imported into Canada are regulated under different laws, they can’t be trusted in the US. The maple syrup can still be imported though, which is the important thing.
39. Durian fruit
If you’ve ever smelt this fruit, you’d know exactly why it’s banned on public transport around the world, including the US. The fruit itself is popular in Asia and smells like “vomit custard” according to those who have gotten a whiff. So, you can buy it in a store, but you’ll have to walk home with it so you don’t annoy other commuters.
40. Mediterranean fruit
This is a rule that depends on what fruit you are importing and the circumstances of where you got it. Some Mediterranean fruit can carry diseases and has been known to cause outbreaks of fruit flies that have cost the US millions. That’s one expensive apple.