Take a look at this list if you’re a big traveler – you might learn more about some of the places that you’re hoping to get to one day. Also, try not to get too hungry reading this delicious list because, depending on where you live, you might be all the way out of luck.
If you happen to be traveling in Norway, France, Finland, or Austria, you might have difficulty finding a box of your favorite sugary cereal. While many countries consider a lot of cereals to be little more than candy that is marketed to kids during the morning, that's not why Fruit Loops won’t be found on tables in these European countries.
A number of scientific studies have linked the artificial colors found in this cereal – and plenty of others – to being unhealthy. Specifically, they could potentially lead to complications in cell development. When it comes to kids, who are developing a whole lot of new cells, that sounds like a bad thing. Because it is! The science is still up in the air, but these countries aren’t taking a chance.
Plenty of meat fans tell us the only way to eat beef is with little more than a light sear. It’s known as rare, which is just barely a step above raw. Unfortunately, if those people are in New Zealand or certain places in the United Kingdom, they’re not going to get their preferred order.
Once again, it’s because of health reasons: some of those places have experienced issues with bacteria in their cows, and not cooking the meat to certain temperatures will leave that bacteria to infect you, the hungry diner. Cooking beef any less than medium rare (traditionally seen as one step above rare) is impossible, and restaurants refuse to do it. You can still buy and cook the beef at home, but you’re taking a risk.
In Europe, a kebab is a classic late-night option for hungry bar-goers, tired workers, and everybody else that feels a bit peckish. That excludes, however, people who live in the city of Venice, Italy. You might be thinking it has to do with health reasons, and that’s a good guess, but it’s not the answer.
It turns out that this city has stopped the sale of kebabs for being... low-quality food. One of the advantages of kebabs is that it always tastes the same no matter what kind of meat it is, and the city didn’t like that. The idea of low-quality fast food clogging up the city streets was something that they simply couldn’t allow. Who knows where all that food came from? It could have come from anywhere!
What could the problem with chewing gum be? There are sugar-free varieties, so it can’t be that. It doesn’t contain alcohol or any other things that might be forbidden for cultural reasons. So what is it? Well, the city of Singapore has a really good reason for wanting people to stop chewing this piece of candy – cleanliness.
They got rid of the stuff in 1992 to clean up the streets and keep sticky stuff away from public places. There are exceptions for people who need it for medical reasons, but you have to have your prescription on you, or you could be hit with a penalty of up to two years in prison or a fine of up to a hundred thousand dollars! Holy smokes!
Seems a bit odd not to allow a snack item that is supposed to be healthier, but that’s just what the United Kingdom and Canada have done. Fat-free chips are supposed to give people alternatives to fatty foods, but a lot of them end up causing some gut issues. This is because of the ingredient olestra, otherwise known as Olean.
It doesn’t have any fat, cholesterol, or calories, but it can give people cramps, bad gas, or even diarrhea if eaten in great enough quality. For these reasons, a couple of countries have decided to take them off store shelves. While that might only leave the full-fat options, a lot of people think it’s better than having bathroom troubles and intestinal pain.
Mac and Cheese
No, the countries of Norway, Austria, and the European Union haven’t banned the simple staple of putting cheese in pasta – what they’ve done is ban the Kraft boxed dinners that are a staple of so many kids around the globe. It comes with a box of noodles and a little pouch of cheese mix – what could be simpler? However, the above countries have found that a couple of color additives could be dangerous for growing bodies that love their mac and cheese, which means the Kraft meal wasn’t allowed.
Kraft has recently removed Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 from the mix, which means they are allowed back on store shelves. Kids in Europe rejoiced, even though it’s really not that hard to just make some noodles and add a little bit of cheese. It's like two steps.
Certain Brands of French Fries
Plenty of us have a bag of french fries in our freezer for when guests come over to grill burgers – or just to enjoy while you don’t want to work too hard to make a meal. They have a long shelf life, which is all thanks to the chemical azodicarbonamide, a preservative.
Some studies have shown that this chemical can cause complications for people suffering from asthma, which means that the United Kingdom, Austria, and Singapore have all decided not to let them be sold. Only certain brands of french fries use this specific chemical, so you might just have to pick a different brand if you need to get your fix of thin little potatoes.
Kinder Surprise Eggs
This is one of the more famous items on this list, and it’s probably not hard to figure out why this candy with a toy inside isn’t allowed on store shelves in the United States. For many years, Kinder Surprise Eggs were banned for what should be obvious reasons following some complaints of choking.
In 2018, however, a different variety of the chocolate eggs – known as Kinder Joy Eggs – were allowed in since they pose a much smaller choking threat, hopefully down to zero. The more popular version of the treat worldwide, the Kinder Surprise Egg, is still not allowed in America. The Kinder Joy Eggs uses a hard plastic shell to protect hungry kids from those dangerous, dangerous toys.
Don’t know what that is? You’re not alone. Casu Marzu is a type of hard pecorino cheese that softens as it ferments into a creamy texture that many people around the world enjoy and appreciate. It uses an...interesting fermentation process, however, and that process is why the United States and a number of other countries have stopped it from being sold.
Fly larvae are placed inside the cheese before fermentation, which releases a liquid to make it all creamy and soft. Yeah, you read that correctly. Amazingly, many people think the idea of eating maggot cheese is something they don’t want, and thus cheese was not allowed. Can’t blame them! Who would think to do such a thing?
You might very well be familiar with this fruit. It’s hard but not impossible to find in much of the world. It has a creamy texture like a cheesecake and sweet custard taste. What’s the downside? Well, we haven’t talked about the smell yet. This fruit creates a pungent odor that has caused some people to void their stomachs. That’s how bad it can get.
In fact, it’s so repulsive that Singapore has created a law that says people aren’t allowed to eat it in public. Yes, that’s right, the smell of this fruit is so bad that a country created a law against eating it in public. We’ve never had the misfortune of smelling it (it’s worse when fresh, apparently), but it must be pretty stinking bad if that’s the case.
If you eat fancy foods, you might be familiar with foie gras, which is a well-known dish from the French. It’s either duck or goose liver, and it has a rich, delicate taste sought out by those who live good food and can afford it. However, The dish's preparation has forced several countries' hand. The birds are restrained and force-fed certain foods in order to produce the correct kind of liver.
They’re never allowed to roam in the grass or spread their wings; many people have labeled it animal cruelty. It’s hard to argue. In fact, the countries of Italy, India, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Israel, Australia, Germany, and many others (as well as the state of California) don’t allow it to be sold.
Back in the day, there was nothing wrong with chowing down on a little bit of horse meat. Sure, horses are useful for a whole lot of other things than eating, but it’s just meat, right? Back then, sure. Nowadays, however, horses are given specific foods and medicines that aren’t fit for humans, meaning if a human were to eat that tasty horse meat, he or she would be getting some of the stuff that might not be safe.
For this reason, the United States and the United Kingdom have decided nobody gets to eat horses. It’s not like there aren’t other options. There are still some places where the horse is okay to eat, but anybody traveling to those places might decide to make the smart choice and pick something else.
Samosas are small triangular pastries that are filled with all manner of good things, like minced meat, potatoes, spices, and herbs. They look and taste delicious, and people all around the world enjoy them. Except for, it seems, the country of Somalia. They have said no to this South Asian dish, and it’s for a bit of a strange reason.
You see, Somalia is a Muslim country. There’s nothing in the dish that is forbidden for them to eat, it’s the SHAPE that they don’t like. In 2011, Somali religious leaders banned Samosas because the three corners of the item seemed too indicative of Christianity’s symbol for the Holy Trinity. Now that we’re squinting, we guess we can see what they mean. Does that mean they don’t allow ANY triangular foods?
Citrus Flavored Drinks
Hitting up a cool, refreshing drink after a long, hot day is something enjoyed around the world, but more than a hundred countries, including the United States, have banned drinks with citrus flavors because of one of the ingredients that a lot of the mixtures can contain. Brominated Vegetable Oil, also known as BVO, provides carbonation and keeps the other ingredients from separating – a function known as emulsification.
It also contains bromine, which can negatively affect the thyroid gland. This chemical, and the drinks it comes in, have thus stopped appearing on shelves in a good percentage of the world. The thyroid is a pretty important gland – it helps control a lot of the body’s major systems and secret certain hormones.
Now, why on Earth would someone ban vegetarian meals? Vegetarianism and veganism have both become more prominent in the last few decades, and it’s not like vegetables are bad for you. Well, it seems that France is taking an issue with some of the things used to replace protein-rich meats. It removed those options from schools nationwide, stating that they didn’t follow proper nutritional guidelines.
Thus, those meatless meals were removed from school cafeterias, leaving a lot of vegetarian students without many options. Thankfully, plenty of vegetables, like black beans, still provide plenty of protein. Still, getting vegetarian meals is a little harder, even if they weren’t fulfilling the nutritional guidelines.
Sprinkles Made in America
If you’re enjoying a cake or a donut and it’s topped over with colorful sprinkles, you might not be in Great Britain. Those little sugary bits and bobs belong on everything from breakfast pancakes to some late-night ice cream, but not all of them are welcome across the pond. Great Britain didn’t ban all sprinkles, just the ones from the United States that contain erythrosine, which is also known as FD&C Red No. 3.
It’s been linked to “hyperactivity” in children, which must be hard to quantify and has been banned in almost everything in Great Britain. Only a pair of food types get a pass: cocktail cherries and decorative Easter eggs. We assume it’s because kids won’t be eating either of those things.
American White Bread
It’s not that bread isn’t allowed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Peru, and a number of other countries. It isn’t even that white bread isn’t allowed. It’s just white bread that has been made in America. However, American producers need to do what they can to keep costs low to meet production, so they started using potassium bromate.
It helps dough rise higher and bake quicker and provides the bread’s clean, white color. That sounds like a pretty good addition, but it turns out that potassium bromate has been banned in the countries that have already been listed due to a link to a number of poor side effects. These things include kidney and nervous system damage and being a potential carcinogen.
Soybeans have become a more and more popular food staple for a lot of people in the West, and in the East, it’s almost always been a staple. Still, there are a bunch of countries in Europe that have banned some of these little beans. They include Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, and Luxembourg, and the reason is because of genetic modification.
Farmers in America have started introducing some chemicals and genetically modifying soybeans in order to get them to go faster and be more likely to survive the growing process. Despite genetic modification being something we’ve done for hundreds of years, some members of the European Union took umbrage with this and said no to soybeans that used those chemicals or processes.
Salt and Pepper
What? Salt and pepper? Salt is one of the more important foods in the world! No, there aren’t any countries or cities or anything that have banned these completely standard spices – there’s only one place you can’t take these, and it’s space. As in, like, beyond the surly bonds of the planet. It’s all due to the lack of gravity in space, which means that adding little granules of white or black to a meal would just have them floating around all over the space station, getting into very expensive and important pieces of machinery or computers.
Astronauts have to eat specific food that is good for them and won’t hurt their magic metal tubes, which means no salt shakers. However, they are given special liquids infused with salt and pepper to provide some important nutrients and keep their palates happy.
Post Honey Maid S’mores Cereal
Seems like a pretty specific item not to allow, but once again, this is for health reasons, and once again, it’s those worry-warts in the European Union (as well as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the United Kingdom) who don’t want this cereal on their shelves. The reason is a chemical known as BHT, real name Butylated Hydroxytoluene (hence the nickname), that is believed to be a cancer cause.
Thus, the S’mores cereal from Post isn’t allowed in a lot of countries. People who visit the United States must love being able to take a walk around the breakfast aisle. So many things they never knew about! However, grabbing some marshmallows and heading to a campfire might be best if tourists want to enjoy any s’mores.
Instant Mashed Potatoes
We can all agree that making mashed potatoes from the real thing on your stove is far superior to making them from potato powder out of a bag, but there’s no denying the latter option is a lot faster and tidier. Convenience is a big part of our days, busy as we are with work, kids, relationships, and all kinds of other activities.
With convenience comes a cost, however: Butylated Hydroxyanisole, which is shortened to BHA, is found in most or all powdered mashed potatoes, as well as a whole lot of other things, like rubber packaging. Some studies have linked it to cancer, leading countries such as Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union to keep it off store shelves.
Pork from the U.S.
There are a whole lot of people to feed in the United States and around the world, so pig farms do what they can to keep up with demand. That includes using the chemical ractopamine, a medication for pigs that are used to promote leanness in animals. Like any medication meant for animals, it might not be super safe for a human to consume, which means that about fifty percent of the pork grown in America isn’t allowed on store shelves in more than a hundred and fifty countries.
The chemical has been linked to behavioral changes, hyperactivity, higher than-normal heart rates, and other cardiovascular problems, which certainly can’t be explained by eating lots of pork. There’s no way all that calorie-dense meat could do such a thing.
There are some countries out there that are bad and wrong, and it’s because they won’t allow people to buy Skittles. Rise up, my brothers, and overthrow your cruel leaders! Nah, it’s okay. But the countries of Norway and Sweden, in particular, are on thin ice after realizing that the standard bag of Skittles contains both Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, a couple of chemicals that have been linked to hyperactivity.
Skittles did what they could and replaced the chemicals with natural colors that occur in food. Incredibly, the kids that ate the new Skittles still became hyperactive. Who knows what the solution could be? Should probably just get rid of all the colors that come with those super sugary treats. That will solve the problem.
A study was conducted in the United Arab Emirates, and it found that fourteen percent of students in Abu Dhabi were overweight. There are lots of reasons why that might be – hyper-palatable foods full of calories, lack of exercise thanks to screens, and more. But the powers that be in the UAE figured out the true culprit: hot dogs.
They actually looked at the foods offered in school cafeterias and started restricting items high in sodium, saturated fats, and artificial flavors to encourage better choices. Alongside a number of other items, such as candy, soda, and potato chips, hot dogs are no longer to be found on school menus. One has to admit that hot dogs aren’t usually the best choice if you’re trying to eat healthy.
Little Debbie Swiss Rolls
Mention one of these little treats to somebody living in the United States – or most of the world – and their eyes will light up. Who doesn’t love these small snacks? Health experts in Europe, that’s who. Sure, they have a lot of sugar and carbs, but the things that the European Union, Norway, and Austria are worried about are the colors. Yellow 5 and Red 40 are dyes that have been linked to behavioral changes, and in tests conducted on animals, they’ve been shown to possibly increase birth defects, organ failure, and even cancer.
These dyes are still allowed in the European Union but have a little warning label. In Norway and Austria, however, you won’t find them anywhere, meaning manufacturers have to come up with some workarounds.
Stove Top Stuffing
Folks in the States are fond of their stovetop stuffing, which is as simple and easy to make as it is delicious. Still, that convenience has a downside: the chemicals BHA and BHT are both found inside Kraft’s version of this product, and both of them can have some potentially negative downsides. The chemicals act as antioxidants and preservatives in processed foods, but both could be potential carcinogens.
Because of the potential risks, the United Kingdom, Japan, and a number of countries in Europe have said no, which means that Kraft’s Stove Top stuffing isn’t available, more’s the pity. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to make stuffing on your own without resorting to the boxed varieties. All you need is some bread and spices and stuff, it’s not that hard. Maybe some chicken broth.
Too many kids and adults in America, when they hear about crackers, they think of Ritz. The small, round, buttery crackers are great as a snack or part of a plate of treats. And yet there are a number of countries – Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark – that say nay to these little guys. Their reasoning is that one of the ingredients, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, has become a little controversial.
While it might have some health benefits, it seems there are enough risks to outweigh the good. It contains gossypol, a natural toxin that has been linked to things like damaged livers and even infertility. Unrefined cottonseed oil is a natural pesticide, and even refined cottonseed oil isn’t free from some destructive qualities. It also has with it high levels of saturated fats.
Once again, a common snack in the States isn’t allowed to darken the store shelves of European countries, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Again the culprit is BHT, a preservative that is often found in dry foods such as potato chips or crackers. Wheat Thins aren’t exactly either of those things, but they’re close enough. BHT helps keep foods shelf-stable and safe until the package is opened, but it’s also been connected to a number of health risks.
Large doses can irritate the skin and lungs and also increase the chance of cancer and infertility. Foods with BHT are allowed in the states due to limited evidence supporting these claims, but plenty of countries have called the claims good enough to stop Wheat Thins from appearing on store shelves.
Cheese is wonderful and amazing, and anybody who doesn’t think so needs to sit down and figure out why they’re so wrong. It appears on all sorts of dishes, in sandwiches, and we hear that some people even put it on apple pie. We’re not here to judge. In Europe, unpasteurized cheese has become more popular thanks to the rising enjoyment of charcuterie boards, but people in the United States will have to stick with pasteurized varieties.
Old studies still show that unpasteurized cheese can make people severely ill, though this only really applies to pregnant women and those with lactose intolerance. There are many cheeses available to Americans, thankfully, so despite the reports' inaccuracy, they have many options for their next get-togethers.
Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix
Betty Crocker is the common go-to if you have guests coming over and need a treat. Never has making a pan of brownies been so easy! But we’re afraid that this mixture uses a couple of things to keep it from going bad before the big day. Partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils are the culprits here, and they mean you can’t find the mixes in Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, or Denmark.
It’s because of the countries taking a long, hard look at unhealthy things like trans fats or saturated fats. Both of the listed ingredients have those in spades. They’ve also been shown to coincide with higher cholesterol, which isn’t something most people are interested in getting. Families in these countries will just have to whip up brownies out of the basics.
Halal and Kosher Meat
Halal and Kosher foods are those prepared to Islam and Judaism's religious standards, but the meats that are safe to eat based on these rules aren’t allowed in Greece. This is due to the slaughtering practices that Halal and Kosher butchers use. They don’t stun the animals beforehand, meaning they’re conscious while killed. This is in violation of the country’s Animal Welfare Acts, and thus Greece has made it extremely difficult for people who follow these guidelines to find meat that meets their needs.
This decision from the government has met with some backlash, as the country still allows numerous other controversial foods, such as foie gras, which is achieved by force-feeding fowl who are trapped in cages. However, while the slaughtering practice has been ruled as cruel, the meat is still, technically, allowed. It just has to be imported.
GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are plants or animals that have been modified using chemicals, breeding processes, etc. – to remove specific traits. In many ways, they are a good thing – and everything we eat is a genetically modified organism in some way – but they’re a complicated process. Some mutations have been shown to wreak havoc in natural ecosystems and crops and even cause changes in humans and animals who consume them.
Studies of animals that eat GMOs have also shown an increase in gastrointestinal and immune system disorders. For that reason, a whole lot of countries have resisted the allure of GMO vegetables: thirty-eight of them are trying oh so hard to keep their people healthy, though it must be tough figuring out which ones are right and which aren’t.
Take them out of the silver wrapping, throw them into the toaster, and you have a meal that’s nice for a kid who is running to school or a business worker running late. Obviously, they aren’t the healthiest choice, but sometimes you just need to get some food in your belly. These treats used to be hard to find in Europe until some stores started carrying an “American foods” section, but then the European Union realized that they have a couple of chemicals inside them.
Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40, which are all mentioned elsewhere on this list, can’t be found in foods without warning labels in the Union due to a number of health risks.
Arby’s Sourdough Breakfast Bread, Croissant, and French Toast Sticks
While Arby’s is a popular fast-food joint in the United States, it hasn’t become popular in much of the world. That still hasn’t stopped the European Union from saying no to a number of its menu items. These are a number of bread items already listed because they have the chemical azodicarbonamide, also known as ADA.
It’s an industrial chemical dubbed “the yoga mat chemical” because it often appears in foam. The EU believes it is linked to gluten intolerance, asthma, and dermatitis, though the evidence for this is slim. We know it’s strange to hear, but just because something can appear in an item like a yoga mat doesn’t mean it’s bad to eat.
If you want to make a meal for your family, finding quick and easy pasta is a little harder if you live in the European Union or Australia. It’s because of azodicarbonamide (or ADA), which has been very tenuously linked to negative health risks. When added to baked goods, ADA bleaches flour and conditions the dough, which makes it look better.
It makes pasta look brighter, gives it more color, and softens the dough to make it easier to cook. However, the alleged toxicity means it’s not allowed in boxed pasta salad mixes in a number of countries. That’s okay, you can just make your own pasta salad out of actual pasta and vegetables and stuff like that. Sure, it’s a little more work, but cooking is fun!
Tostitos Salsa Con Queso Dip
There are a couple of color dyes that European countries just can’t handle. Like a number of other items on this list, Tostitos Salsa Con Queso Dip isn’t available in Norway or Austria because of the presence of Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. While it tastes great, the dip looks a bit bland without those additives, so to catch the shopping crowd's eye, they were given a pop.
However, they contain something called tartrazine, a synthetic yellow dye that delivers an attractive, appetizing color. According to some studies, it also delivers allergic and intolerance reactions – according to the studies, they are shown to cause the most, or the strongest, reactions compared to other food colorings.
Once again, there is a common food that plenty of people in the United States know about that they might not be able to find on foreign grocery store shelves. Frosted Flakes, a common breakfast staple for many, contains BHT (full name: Butylated hydroxytoluene). This chemical is a common ingredient in both food and medicine. In the former, it’s an antioxidant and preservative, in the latter, it’s used to treat cold sores, herpes, and more.
Still, many countries, such as the European Union and Japan, have found BHT to be dangerous in certain amounts. This, combined with the fact that Frosted Flakes bring a lot of sugar to the table, means those countries have decided to keep them away from the breakfast table.
This carbonated drink is a refreshing lemon-limescale soda that comes in a variety of flavors, but you’ll have trouble finding them if you’re in the European Union. It’s because they come chock-full of bromine, which is a chemical with a complicated and contentious history. It’s an emulsifier that prevents ingredients from separating, but it also has some possible side effects, such as being irritable to human skin or causing burns.
If consumed, it could damage internal tissue and mucus membranes. It should be obvious that the amount in a can of Fresca won’t do those sorts of things, but there are other possible side effects, including the development of schizophrenia, incredibly. It could also be the cause of an underactive thyroid or an unstable cardiac rhythm, and for those reasons, the EU has decided: no.
Many items on this list are banned for health reasons, but this classic candy isn’t allowed in Sweden for a very different reason. Despite being one of the most well-known treats in the world, available pretty much everywhere, and with all kinds of different varieties to enjoy, the Swedish have to get their chocolate fix somewhere else. Here’s why: ‘M’ by Mondelez is a classic Swedish snack – a chocolate-covered peanut – sold since 1957.
The logos for the two companies are really similar, and there are many reasons why the trademarks would get confusing to those that don’t know the difference. After what we assume is a complicated legal matter, the local company got the better of the Mars candy company. And so, M&M’s are not to be found anywhere for purchase in Sweden.
In case you don’t know, most of the milk we drink is pasteurized, meaning that it has gone through a heating process to ensure that bacteria hiding inside it has been killed off. Of course, that’s if you live in the United States, the United Kingdom, or Canada. Living in other places in your world makes you more likely to find it “raw,” as in unpasteurized. Just like other animal products, raw milk can contain some dangerous bacteria like salmonella or listeriosis.
In order to reduce this danger, several countries don’t allow milk to be sold raw. While the chances of getting sick from raw milk are quite low, people end up drinking enough milk that it can still happen. America has left it to the states to decide.
Marmite is a...contentious part of the food family, though some claim it’s barely even a member. If you grow up in the United Kingdom, you’re exposed at a young age. Some fall in love with the strange concoction, some decide they never want to eat it again. It has a good amount of vitamins and minerals, but it has a couple of other things that some countries aren’t too fond of.
Those countries are Canada and Denmark, and the additives they aren’t happy about are actually the extra work that is done putting those vitamins and minerals in. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency cites “enrichment of vitamins and minerals” as the reason for not allowing it. They’re not happy that they added vitamins? There must be some kind of logic behind that, but it’s hard to see from here.
To a whole lot of people around the world, adding ketchup or catsup to a burger, hot dog, or plate of potatoes is a time-honored tradition. But it seems that one country is turning up their noses at this classic condiment. It’s the French, and they’ve decided not to allow ketchup in their schools. Now, why could this be? The sugar content? The fact it’s kind of like a vegetable, but not really? In fact, it’s because of the French’s culinary supremacy.
The flavor and texture of ketchup cover the natural elements of the food that the kids are eating, which means they might not gain an appreciation of good cuisine. Maybe if school lunches started offering anything approaching good cuisine, then we could have this discussion.
Maybe you’ve heard of this rare and sought-after fish. If you happen to be in Japan, you might have a chance to eat it, but watch out – if prepared incorrectly, it can literally kill you. You see, it’s made from pufferfish, a fish that is notorious for its toxicity. The toxin is a thousand times deadlier than cyanide, and it requires specially-trained “fugu chefs” who have the skills to make this fish safe to eat.
Despite that, the fish hasn’t been seen on the shores of the United States or Europe for quite some time because, if it’s prepared incorrectly, it can (and has, sadly) killed people. We imagine you can still eat the dish in those countries, but buying it at the store is impossible. For, once again, a very good reason.
The reason this food isn’t to be found in the United States is because the food is nasty. No, we kid, but you have to admit haggis is a little off-putting. Haggis is made by stuffing the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep, along with minced onion and oatmeal, into the stomach of that same sheep and then cooking the entire collection in a broth. The taste is described as a crumbly sausage with an oaty texture and peppery flavor.
The United States took one look at it and said no. This is mostly because of the different chemicals and fluids that a sheep's stomach (as well as the other organs mentioned) could contain. It can still be served in America, those items just can’t be imported from elsewhere.
McVities Penguin Milk Chocolate Biscuit
Here’s a new one. This chocolate cookie is a popular snack in the United Kingdom. It’s a crunchy exterior with a chocolate cream filling, which means it could potentially be a popular snack everywhere, but Canada is a big exception. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency determined that because the treat had been enriched with vitamins and minerals, it wasn’t allowed to be sold in that part of North America.
Once again, it’s a little odd to see a country saying no to a piece of food because it has too MANY vitamins, but there has to be some kind of logical reasoning behind it. Maybe they don’t want people to eat them thinking they’re healthy, while the snacks also have a ton of calories and carbohydrates and things like that. If you want vitamins, eat a carrot.
To make black pudding, you must mix oatmeal and barley with the fat and blood of a cow or a pig. It’s just that easy! Oh, and then you have to stuff it into an intestine and cook it like a traditional sausage. That might be why this dish is also sometimes called a “blood sausage.” Is your stomach grumbling yet? If you live in the United States, you’re out of luck.
Seeing as how black pudding is made with the blood of an animal, there are too many bacteria and diseases that can potentially cause serious health issues. There’s also the fact that cow blood has had some problems with cleanliness in the past. It also has an exceptionally high amount of fat, which the FDA also isn’t too pleased with.
If you’ve ever been to a really fancy party, you might have had the chance to try caviar. If you're lucky, the most expensive and rarest form of caviar is that of Beluga, which you likely won’t be able to find if you’re looking in the United States. The beluga sturgeon – not the whale – was added to the list of critically endangered animals of the world in 2005, which means that using any of it for food is strictly forbidden in America.
There are many other countries that still allow this dish, and thankfully the beluga sturgeon has been making a comeback in recent years. Plenty of other caviar options are available, including those that come from less endangered fish (and those that cost less, too).
If you find yourself in Southeast Asia or China and pop into a seafood restaurant, you might discover that shark fin soup is on the menu. No, that’s not a misnomer – the dish really does use the shredded meat of a shark fin. However, the taste of the soup comes mostly from spices and herbs, while the fin is for texture. It’s said that a hundred million sharks are killed each year to make this soup, which...seems like a whole lot of sharks if we’re being honest.
Are we sure about that number? Regardless, this has led to overfishing and some inhumane methods to attain the fins. For this reason, the United States and a number of other countries have said it’s illegal to sell, trade, or be in possession of the meat of a shark.
A lot of people in the United States don’t mind doing the dew every once in a while, even if it isn’t their favorite drink. It’s a neon yellow, citrus-flavored drink that is a regular choice for all sorts of people. If you’re looking to quench your thirst on a hot day while you’re in Japan or some parts of Europe, however, you’re going to be out of luck.
Those countries have decided they won’t allow it, and it’s because some of the ingredients have a chance to cause birth defects in the children of frequent soft drink consumers. The chemicals have also been linked to hearing loss and even things like psychological problems or schizophrenia. Maybe your next gamer fuel should just be a glass of water.
If you fixed yourself a cup of Joe, adding a little something is not uncommon. For most, it’s cream and sugar, but there are also some flavors to add to make it extra special. Coffee-Mate is one of those options, and it was introduced in the sixties as a lactose-free additive that came in a variety of flavors. However, one of the ingredients in many of the options is a soybean compound that has been partially hydrogenated.
This means that if you live in Denmark, Norway, Iceland, or Hungary, you won’t be able to find Coffee-Mate, since the trans fats that come with cottonseed and soybean products have been linked to cardiovascular problems like heart disease. It’s fair that the fewer trans fats you eat, the better, but a coffee flavor? We’re afraid so.
If you’re enjoying some salmon, you’re probably a fan of the natural pink color the fish gets from consuming the krill and prawn it eats in its natural environment. However, there are also farm-raised salmon that don’t have those kinds of options, so they’re fed grains with a special pink color.
Unfortunately, the petrochemicals that provide the grains their pink color are considered unsafe in Australia and New Zealand. Why, you ask? Well, it’s because they’ve been linked to eyesight damage in humans. Your eyesight is one of your most important senses! The chemicals haven’t been found to be safe for human consumption yet, and potentially damaging your eyes certainly counts as unsafe.
If you need a hit of energy during the day, you might reach for a Red Bull, an energy drink known worldwide. It has a ton of caffeine, a nice flavor, and some fun slogans, but it also seems to contain some not-so-good stuff. The high taurine (which provides a lot of energy) and caffeine content that the drink contains led the countries of Denmark, Norway, and France to keep the energy booster from flying onto the shelves.
The Scandinavian countries are holding firm to their decision, though France has been allowing it onto store shelves after the end of the country’s twelve-year ban. High-fliers rejoice.
Ovaltine is a classic powdered mix that you can add to milk for a refreshing treat – perhaps you remember it from “A Christmas Story.” However, not every country wants this famous mix to be available to the citizens. It’s Denmark in particular that said no, pointing out that Ovaltine isn’t nutritious enough for the Danish.
You see, Denmark has some extremely strict laws that say a lot of the foods that have vitamins or minerals added aren’t allowed on store shelves, and it turns out that Ovaltine has a whole lot of additives to make it at least kind of healthy. So foods that are just sugary are okay, but once those foods add vitamins, suddenly they aren’t okay anymore? Okay, Denmark, whatever you say.
You might all think you know where this one is headed: marshmallows in cereal. That’s not healthy at all! Not on my breakfast table! However, you might be surprised to find out that only one country doesn’t want any Lucky Charms at the table, and it’s Saudi Arabia. And it’s not because of health reasons – it’s because of texture reasons. Yes, the texture of the sugary marshmallows is the issue.
The marshmallows in Lucky Charms, Count Chocula, and a number of other options are believed by the governing body to resemble the texture of pork products closely. Because of this, these cereals aren’t allowed. We’re sure it makes sense to somebody. The marshmallows contain gelatin, which could contain pork, though most of it is from horse bones.
Jelly Mini-Cup Sweets
Jell-O is a favorite of kids and adults worldwide, and plenty of students love opening their lunchbox to find a single-serving of Jell-O inside it. Unfortunately, kids in the European Union will have to go without these single servings, and it’s kind of for a silly reason. Some of these single Jell-O servings come packed with real fruit. Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, there is if kids don’t look at what they’re eating and gobble it down without chewing.
A couple of kids have choked, and in response, the European Union decided that these single servings of jelly won’t make it past its borders. So because some of the kids can’t chew their food, nobody gets to enjoy these.
Raw Bitter Almonds
Almonds are a healthy snack packed with proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of vitamins. They do have a lot of calories, though, so watch out. The past few decades have seen a change in how a lot of food is grown in the United States, which means that rules and guidelines have become a lot stricter.
Almonds have been one of the foods affected – but what could be wrong with this humble nut? Raw, bitter almonds contain dangerous levels of cyanide, which can be poisonous to humans, even in small qualities. For that reason, the states have said you can’t sell raw, bitter varieties. At the very least, they must be roasted, which cooks off the cyanide and makes it much safer to consume. Snack away.
No, this isn’t about a bush that you harvest for protein. That sounds pretty disgusting. You harvest This meat from animals that haven’t been raised domestically. Some of the listed options include bats, snakes, and monkeys. As you might imagine, many very serious health issues can occur if you just start chowing down on any kind of meat you find out in the wild. A majority of countries have asked their citizens not to do anything like this.
You can still find bushmeat in different varieties in certain places around the world, such as Central and West African markets, as well as places in Asia, but the World Health Organization has encouraged everyone to stay far, far away. It’s not hyperbole to say SARs is on the table.
Genetically Modified Papaya
Hawaii has long been famous for its wonderful fruits, but one of them, the papaya, was in grave danger from the papaya ringspot virus. It required some quick genetic modification to keep the papaya crops from being destroyed, but the new genetic varieties weren’t given the go-ahead from a couple of nations overseas. In particular, the uptight food experts in the European Union weren’t interested.
It’s because these new papaya options are technically GMOs, which the EU is against in principle. This is kind of like a better safe than sorry thing since the long-term studies haven’t been finished yet. Sorry, Europe, no papayas for you. Or much of anything else if they don’t want any GMOs.
If you’re from Scotland, you recognize Irn Bru. If you aren’t, you might not know what we’re talking about. This is a classic Scottish soft drink known for its orange color and its sweet, deep flavor of blackcurrant. Mixing with other drinks for custom creation is fun, but that can’t be done in Canada.
This country has decided not to let Irn Bru take up any space on store shelves because of the additive Ponceau Red 4R, which is a coloring agent that helps the drink get its recognizable color. Ponceau Red 4R has been linked to cancer, and it’s also potentially a complication for people who suffer from asthma. It’s a good thing no Scottish people have asthma, or that might be bad.
This isn’t the kind of thing you’ll see on many ingredient lists, but if you’re into the homeopathic scene, you might be a little more familiar with it. Back in the day, sassafras oil was used to treat urinary tract disorders, syphilis, gout, arthritis, and quite a few other ailments, but after some research, it wasn’t nearly as helpful as first believed.
There’s also the fact that the bark and roots of the sassafras plant contain a lot of safrole, which is known to cause cancer in rats. America stopped allowing sassafras in 1960, and once the whole rat thing became known in 1979, the Food and Drug Administration rejected any use of it all, including anything that is derived from it, like medicines and oils.
If you’re looking to get your drink on, there are plenty of choices, good and bad, from all over the world. Beer, wine, vodka, rum, whiskey. One certain variety of alcohol known as absinthe is a little infamous since it seemed to have hallucinogenic properties if drunk. It’s thought that the chemical thujone is the reason for the hallucinations, and current versions of the drink have reduced amounts compared to the heyday.
However, one country still has a law against the drink on the books – the country of Vanuatu. Not familiar with it? You’re not alone. It’s an island nation found northeast of Australia (or north of New Zealand), and it doesn’t allow the sale of absinthe in any shape or form, regardless of the amount of thujone present in the concoction.
If you happen to be in Jamaica, you might find some of the island country’s national fruit, ackee. It’s something that many people aren’t able to find at home for a reasonable price. You might be tempted to pick one right off the tree and start eating, but you really shouldn’t do that. Once the fruit is properly ripe, it’s perfectly safe to eat, but while unripe, it contains high levels of hypoglycin A and B, which can induce comas or even cause death.
It can be so dangerous that the United States didn’t allow the fruit to reach its shores in any form until the year two thousand. Nowadays, you might be able to find canned or frozen ackee, which is safe to eat, but the fresh form of the fruit will never be a part of the produce section.
Whether you’re in Japan or elsewhere, the Japanese seafood industry is one that seems fancy and special. However, since 2011 the industry has taken a hit. In that year, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster struck, and it’s been havoc in the Japanese food import business ever since.
The amount of radiation that is still being found in areas around the disaster means that the food isn’t safe to eat or export, meaning areas like Hong Kong, the United States, Canada, Australia, and a number of others have to say no to this fancy snack. In addition to seafood, the Japanese fishing industry has also been damaged by the event since the waters near Fukushima are vital for that industry.
There are plenty of countries where you can go to the store and find the snack brand Haldiram, which offers traditional Indian snacks in pre-packaged form. They are, obviously, a favorite of people from India living abroad, but Indians in the United States are out of luck. Thanks to tests that found evidence of some harmful particles, this brand isn’t able to get to America. These particles include chemical pesticides, salmonella bacteria, and even bits of sand.
Tests from the FDA in Telangana and Maharashtra found that there was no evidence of the above list and that the products were perfectly safe, meaning hopefully, the US loosens restrictions soon. However, they still won’t let this brand through the doors, much to the consternation of snack fans.
No, this foodstuff has nothing to do with little trucks. Tonka beans are a legume similar to dried-out fruits like raisins. They have a unique fruity, spicy aroma and are a friend to chefs around the world. It was used as an alternative to vanilla until it was found out that an extract of tonka comes with some pretty big risks.
The fruit contains coumarin, a chemical that helps provide the special aroma, but coumarin is incredibly dangerous in large doses. Clinical studies have shown that it can cause liver failure and even death. The United States took one look at that evidence and said no thanks. This has a pretty low risk of happening in real life, but the United States still hasn't allowed this fruit or its extract for more than fifty years.
Kohinoor Basmati Rice
In 2019, hungry shoppers in Australia opened some food packages and found them moldy before even opening. These complaints led to an intense investigation, which discovered that the basmati rice sold by the Kohinoor brand contained the chemical buprofezin. It sounds like something you take when you have a headache, but it’s a pesticide popular in the farming industry. Australia, reasonably, doesn’t want it to be found in food.
Not only is it, not the safest thing for humans to consume, but it also has environmental risk factors and has been found to be detrimental to aquatic life. For that reason, this rice brand isn’t an option for those living in Australia until some things change.
Foreign Cheese and Meat Imports
After Russia decided to make the poor move to getting into a land war, a whole lot of the rest of the world started imposing sanctions on the huge country. In retaliation, Russia said no thanks to meat and cheese imports from the European Union to try and cut off their trade dollars. It’s more complicated than that, but those are the basic details. Not many people in Russia liked this since they got a whole lot of popular food from other countries. Harsh.
One enterprising Russian figured out a way to get around this restriction by starting a business that let Russians order foreign cheese and have it delivered to them in Russia. It’s perfectly legal since the business is based in Germany, and travel from Germany to Russia allows five kilograms of food not subject to import regulations.
This case is a little different from the other examples on the list, as it isn’t the food itself that people don’t like, it’s the name. The Beyond Meat company became popular by creating meat that tastes a whole lot like the real thing, but people in the meat industry aren’t too thrilled about it. Obviously.
They released “Beyond Meatballs,” and the meat industry successfully lobbied Mississippi state lawmakers to pass a law that meant meat-free or vegan meat substitutes weren’t allowed to use meat-related words (such as meatball or bacon) in their names. Seems a little mean-spirited, but we can see how there could be some confusion. The products are still available, they just go by different names now. Things like... plant balls or some such.
If you’re unsure what a silver dragee is in the world, head to the baking section of your closest grocery store. They’re sometimes called “cashouts” or, the more obvious name, “silver balls.” They’re the little metal balls you put on fancy decorated cookies or cakes that, while they are non-toxic, probably shouldn’t be eaten. The FDA tells us that silver is a food coloring additive that isn’t allowed, and they’re also metal.
The state of California actually doesn’t allow any of these metal bits and bobs within their boundaries after a customer sued a cake decorator after the decorator used them. The customer said kids wouldn’t know about the danger and could choke. Obviously, that means suing the decorator and not telling your kids about the potential dangers.
The snooty fun-food-hating country that is France appears yet again on this list, but it isn’t just because something could stop kids from learning about the superiority of French cuisine. In the year 2020, something happened that had people become a little more thoughtful of personal cleanliness. France was no exception, but in late 2021, the country made an odd decision: no more snacks in movie theaters. Or “theatres,” as they’re probably called over there.
They removed all popcorn and snacks from cinemas. Amazingly, this overreach of authority then extended to sports venues and public transportation. Watching a movie without even the chance to pick up any snacks feels like a bad way to spend an evening. The French cinema industry hasn’t been happy about the change since getting people to sit for a movie is hard enough.
Go ahead and take a look at a picture of Mirabelle plums, and you’ll see a mouth-watering piece of fruit that looks like it would go great in a pie, on some ice cream, or as a snack on its own. Yet people in the United States can’t get this wonderful piece of fruit. Why not? Instead of health issues or toxicity, it comes down to import laws. These fruits are grown in Lorraine, France – if it’s grown somewhere else, it isn’t a Mirabelle plum. Kind of like champagne.
An agreement between France and the U.S.D.F.A. is designed to protect the French market, and plums don’t travel well, so people in the United States are out of luck. Apparently, these plums taste kind of like they have coconut in them, which sounds great. Time to look at plane tickets to Lorraine.
You know what, we’re okay with not being able to eat something called a blood clam. It sounds like an enemy in a FromSoft game. The United States has decided not to allow this one in the borders due to a number of factors. Unlike other kinds of clams, these crimson sea creatures can carry a number of dangerous bacteria and viruses, up to and beyond things like dysentery, typhoid, and hepatitis A, due to living in low-oxygen environments.
Many people wouldn’t mind seeing this seafood as an option on their dinner plates, but plenty of people think it should remain on the no-eat list due to the...well, all the reasons we just talked about.
Oddly, you can still buy Smarties in the store – we’re talking about the little round pucks of sugar with a bit of tartness to them. Glue them to your jeans to make yourself smartie-pants! No, we’re actually discussing the Canadian Smarties, which are oval pieces of chocolate covered in a thin candy shell. They sound similar to M&M’s, and they can’t be found in the United States because they have the same name as American candy.
Despite being sad that we can’t try that Canadian concoction, we have to admit it makes sense to say two competing candy companies can’t sell something very different with the same name. Canadian Smarties aren’t even allowed in the United Kingdom since British Smarties are ALSO different.
Blueberries are great, but do you know what they also are? Messy, expensive, and difficult to grow in enough quantities to sate our desire. However, some dyes can be added to foods that give them a pop of color that is quite similar to blueberries. Unfortunately, many countries have taken a good, long look at one of the additives and found that it contains petroleum.
You know, the thing that we use to make gasoline, tar, asphalt, and a host of other things that probably shouldn’t go inside our bodies? The dye that contains it has been linked to brain cancer, nerve cell degeneration, and other bad effects. Countries like the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Finland, and Norway no longer allow it, though there are plenty of real blueberries to pick up the slack.
Coca-Cola is perhaps the most well-known and loved soda around the world, but not every country has access to it. The soft drink might not be the healthiest thing around, but that’s not why the countries of North Korea and Cuba have turned up their noses at the pop. Coca-Cola has been called “capitalism in a bottle,” which means that places terrified of the power of the West and of a free market, such as North Korea and Cuba, refused to let Coke inside.
The countries are under trade embargoes, which means Coke isn’t allowed to do business. It’s been that way in Cuba since 1950, and it’s been that way in North Korea since 1950. Maybe one day, they'll realize what they’re missing.
Produced by the Mexican division of Mars, Lucas Candies are simple sugary treats that you won’t ever find in the United States and probably many other places worldwide, too. Versions like Vera mango, Chaca Chaca, and Super Lucas were tested by the F.D.A. and presented with more than twice the amount of lead that the F.D.A. considered dangerous. It contains twelve micrograms per piece, which is far too much.
Because of this, this Mexican candy won’t ever get into the hands of American candy fans. How does lead get into candy? Well, it can sneak its way in while the sweat is stored, dried, or ground up in improper conditions. Lead often ends up in paint and cosmetics, and that’s bad enough, but the food is even worse.
Ever had sannakji? You’d know if you did because it’s a raw, living octopus that is chopped apart and fed to diners while still writing. We told you you’d remember. Incredibly, people in South Korea actually enjoy eating this. Historically, Kendo warriors would eat it for strength, which might be why there aren’t any Kendo warriors anymore.
Well, those fighting men must have enjoyed a meal that fights back. Multiple people have died while eating this...interesting dish because one of the tentacles can stick to the inside of the throat and get stuck, causing choking. There’s also a poisoning risk since the octopus is eaten rare. For these reasons, the United Kingdom and a number of other countries have decided this dish will stay far away from plates.
Lady Gaga’s Chromatica Oreos
The countries of Norway and Austria must not like the pop stylings of Lady Gaga since they won’t allow her special Oreo creation, her “Chromatic Oreos,” to be sold on shelves. Well, it’s not their music they have a problem with (probably), but the color additives have made their way into the little sandwich cookies.
They’re green icing inside a pair of pinkish cookies, but the cookies use Red Dye 40, an additive linked to several health issues. Hey, just like Lady Gaga herself! Norway and Austria don’t allow the additive at all, while the countries that make up the European Union require a warning label on all foods that contain this and other similar chemicals.
Palm oil has a whole lot of uses. It’s not usually in cooking like olive oil, but it still appears in things like peanut butter, chocolate, margarine, and other smooth foods. And bread, for some reason. You can also find it in non-food items, like shampoo and cosmetics, cleaning products, and even biodiesel. In order to get this handy oil, however, palm trees have to be cut down.
We should have seen that coming, huh? In order to protect the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia from deforestation, a number of European countries have started not allowing palm oil products within their borders. However, some people have started fighting back against this decision, pointing out it doesn’t do much for all palm oil farmers in Indonesia and Malaysia.