Our health is largely affected by the foods we consume.
All health experts, doctors, and nutritionists point out the importance of a healthy and balanced diet, rich in nutrients and fresh produce.
Unfortunately, many of us just cannot resist certain foods that seem to contribute nothing good to our health, but their taste pleases all senses!
Namely, junk food, sweets, and highly processed packaged foods are in almost every kitchen cupboard and fridge in the US.
Are you aware, however, that there are some foods or ingredients that are so dangerous, that other countries have banned them?
This is a list of American foods banned in various countries throughout the globe.
After reading this article, you may want to reconsider buying these products next time you’re in the store!
28 American Foods Banned In Other Countries
When you mention American food, most people will say things like fast-food burgers, fries, and enormous sodas.
The country is known for producing large, “extreme” foods (hi freak shakes), but not so much for fine quality. In reality, some American foods that you might even eat on daily basis are in fact so bad for you, that other countries have banned them.
- Brominated Vegetable Oil: Common Soda Ingredient
There could be more than just a shockingly high amount of sugar in your soda or sports drink. Many times, an ingredient called brominated vegetable oil is also present there. It is flame-retardant and can be a reason for many health problems. Because of this, it is banned in several places, most notably Europe (yes, the entire continent) and Japan. In 2014, Coca-Cola and Pepsi claimed that they were removing it from their beverages, but in the end, there isn’t much regulation on it. Check your labels (it has to be listed), particularly if drinking smaller, lesser-known brands.
- A Hormone Added To Milk
To this day, a hormone known as rBST is still added to some US dairy. It has been causing many health issues in the cows themselves, although it is still not known what effects it has on the health of humans. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Europe have banned it.
- Food Dye In Boxed Mac N’ Cheese
Though banned in Norway, Finland, and some other countries, you can still find yellow #5 and #6 added to some packed macaroni and cheese in the USA. These two dyes can cause hyperactivity in kids. Always read your labels and do not buy brands that contain this chemical.
- Pink Slime
Can you remember the pink slime scandal of 2012? Well, that “beef” that some try to present as good, healthy ground beef is in fact banned in Canada and the whole European Union. This additive to lower fat content in ground beef is exposed to ammonia during its processing. This can cause many health problems to people.
- Genetically Modified Foods
To this day, a lot of debate still takes place about genetically modified foods (GMOs) and their health, safety, and efficacy. Numerous countries have banned them, including most of the EU, Russia, several Latin American countries, some of Asia, and four countries in Africa. Specifically, the EU has banned several American GMO products, with corn, soy, and papaya being among them.
- Chlorine Treated Chicken
As US authorities claim, chlorinated chicken is safe for consumption. The chickens are treated with chlorine to remove harmful bacteria. The EU and UK, however, don’t agree on that, and they have banned it since 1997.
US pork is banned in 160 of the 196 countries in the world. The reason is that much of it contains the growth hormone ractopamine. It allows companies to produce more meat with less feed used. This drug makes many pigs grow so large that they can barely stand or walk. They end up in terrible suffering at slaughterhouses, being trampled, dragged, and electrically prodded.
- Certain Bread Products
Wraps, rolls, bread crumbs, bagel chips, and flatbreads made in America contain a chemical by the name of potassium bromate. It is an oxidizer that helps bread rise. It causes kidney and thyroid cancers in rodents. It is banned in Europe, Canada, and China, so don’t try to find American bread products there.
- Frozen dinners
Azodicarbonamide is yet another chemical additive in US bread that is banned in Australia, the UK, and most of Europe. It is also present in frozen dinners and packaged baked goods. Another leavening agent, scientists say it causes cancer in rodents. Actually, it has been banned in the European Union for more than a decade.
- Sugar cane
US sugar cane is treated with the weed killer Atrazine. Suspected to cause birth defects, reproductive tumors, skin sensitization, and muscle degeneration, the European Union has banned it. Also, Atrazine easily leaks into waterways where it damages wildlife and the environment.
- Fat-Free Products
Much of the fat-free snacks in America are made fat-free by using a thing called Olestra. Not only has it been linked to gastrointestinal disease in children and terrible diarrhea in adults, but it also has been shown to increase appetite. This is the reason both Canada and Europe have banned it.
- Chewing gum
Chewing gums in America contain the preservative butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA). Causing cancer in rats, it’s also an ingredient in cereal, baked goods, packaging, cosmetics, snack foods, meats, butter, dehydrated potatoes, and beer. It’s banned in Japan, the UK, and most of the countries in Europe.
The pink color in wild-caught salmon is because of the carotenoids in their diet. But the American farmed salmon, do not eat a natural diet. As a result, the farmers feed them synthetic astaxanthin. This can potentially cause eyesight damage and because of that, it is banned in Austria and New Zealand.
- Fruit loops
Fruity Pebbles too! If it wasn’t already a familiar fact, Fruit Loops are made from artificial dyes, and many of these dyes have adverse health effects on both children and adults, among them cancers and healthy DNA mutation. That is why Norway, Finland, France, and Austria have all banned them.
- Fake Blueberry
The artificial dyes used to make the artificial blueberry you see in NutriGrain bars, toaster waffles, and most pre-packaged fake blueberry-containing foods are made from petroleum. They have been suspected to cause brain cancer, nerve cell degeneration, and hyperactivity. Norway, France, Finland, Austria, and the UK have banned it. Many of these blueberry snack foods still can be found there – they just contain real blueberries.
- American M&Ms
Next time you visit a country in the EU, make sure you read the list of ingredients on a package of M&Ms. You will notice ingredients such as red cabbage, lemon, and radish. Well, the food dyes used in American M&Ms are banned for use in the EU, as they are worried about the risk of hyperactivity in children among other health risks.
- Maraschino Cherries
In the United States, Maraschino cherries get their bright red color with the help of Red Dye 40. This dye is also added to grenadine and many cherry pie mixes, but it is banned in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Denmark over health and safety concerns.
It turns out that in the United States, the saying “ one apple a day keeps the doctor away” is far from being true. Namely, non-organic apples here are coated in a chemical-filled wax to give them that super shiny appearance and those chemicals have been related to certain cancers, and as a result, they are banned in the EU.
- Chocolate Milk
Many American chocolate brands contain a chemical called carrageenan, which is an emulsifying agent used to stabilize and thicken many processed foods. Yet, studies have shown that it can lead to heart disease-causing inflammation, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases. Therefore, it is banned for use in baby formula but is still added to various ice creams, salad dressings, soy milk, and some meat products. Yup, it is banned in the EU.
All Americans know that ketchup is bad for us, but we still love it!
A decade ago, France banned ketchup in all school and university cafeterias for two reasons: health and the protection of their own cuisine.
- Potato Chips
BHT is often added to our favorite chips, to keep them fresh and crisp is banned in the UK, Japan, and many European countries.
- American Cheese
Numerous dairy products in the United States are rich in the hormone Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), which is a synthetic version of the natural one used to increase milk production. In cows, it can lead to inflamed udders and infertility, and in humans, it can cause various types of cancer. It is banned in 30 countries.
- Coffee Mate
If you enjoy your morning coffee with a little (or a lot) of Coffee-Mate coffee creamer in our cuppa’, we have to inform you that it contains trans fats from cottonseed oils and hydrogenated soybean that can lead to heart disease. Due to this, it is banned in Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Hungary, Austria, and Switzerland.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
Although it is not fully banned, the use of HGCS is restricted in the EU and the UK, due to its connection with obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Yet, here in the United States, it is still common, especially in fizzy-sweet soda drinks.
- Palm Oil
Apart from high quantities of salt and sugar, most commercial peanut butter is filled with palm oil. This oil endangers our health, and additionally, its cultivation is one of the top causes of deforestation in the Amazon. Consequently, many European countries have banned it.
- Artificial Sweeteners
Many sweets advertised to be suitable for people with diabetes or those who want baked goods without sugar contain artificial sweeteners that the EU officially banned in 2017-2018, due to their different side effects.
The EU and UK still have a firm ban on the low-calorie sweetener stevia, as a result of the lack of evidence that it is safe to consume. Certain studies suggest that it could contribute to male infertility and some cancers.
- Trans Fats
Scientists keep warning us that trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease, by lowering your good cholesterol and simultaneously raising your bad cholesterol. Due to these concerns, much of the EU, Canada, and Brazil have banned or at least put very strict regulations on it.