Throughout the course of history, some food and drinks have been banned by various countries for very good reasons. For example, eating dog meat has been outlawed in many nations because it is unhealthy and cruel, and these include some Asian countries in which the people traditionally enjoyed dog meat as a delicacy. In other cases, a food ban is part of foreign and trade policy.
Today, food items are banned for a variety of reasons. A few years ago, concern over the obesity epidemic led LA to ban new fast food joints in the southern part of the city. Despite the seemingly logical reason for the ban, it didn’t really work. In fact, it seemed to have achieved the opposite, because South LA had an increase in obesity rates from 63% to 75%. The rest of the country only has a 57% obesity rate.
Outlawing food is nothing new, so let’s examine other instances and see if they make sense:
- Kinder Eggs. Let’s start with this chocolate-y treat. The US ban on the Kinder egg is famous because word of it has spread all over social media. It’s delicious and it’s very popular in Europe, but the American authorities disagreed.
The problem is that in the US there’s a law since 1938 called the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act which outlaws any food item that “bears or contains any nonnutritive substance”. And Kinder eggs fit the description, since part of its appeal is that it contains a small toy inside which you can then put together.
It seems US government authorities think American kids are less intelligent than their European counterparts. But then again, such a way of thinking is hardly surprising as cups of freshly brewed coffee in the US have to carry a warning that the coffee is very hot.
- Jelly Sweets. The UK and the rest of the EU, however, seem to think that their kids are more likely to choke on items if they come from overseas. In this case, they’ve banned the jelly sweets from Japan.
These sweets are made with a thickening agent called “konjac”, and European food authorities believe that these sweets pose a choking hazard for children. But the authorities in Japan and other Far East countries seem to believe that their own children are safe.
- Haggis. If you have a fascination with Scotland, then you may have heard of this Scottish traditional delicacy. The Americans have heard of it too, and that’s why they’ve banned it for the last 4 decades or so. That’s because one of its many ingredients is sheep lungs, and it’s not legal in the US to have sheep lungs in food products. The ingredients of haggis include sheep offal, beef, onions, oats, and other spices, and then put in a natural casing.
It really doesn’t sound all that bad, as it seems par for the course when you consider other Scot-invented delicacies. This is the country that invented stuffed cod-head soup (crappit head), blood sausage (black pudding), and the notorious deep-fried Mars bar.
However, UK officials are continuing their efforts to have the ban lifted. Maybe if they threaten the Americans by cutting off their Scotch whisky they’ll have better luck!
- Raw Milk. Unpasteurized milk isn’t legal in 22 American states and in parts of Canada. On the face of it, this ban seems logical, because the milk can be full of germs. Pasteurization is actually the very process that kills germs in milk.
What doesn’t make sense is that this concern may be overrated. That’s because this type of milk is widely available and legal in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Its devotees even insist that it’s really very healthy. And what seems apparent is that there hasn’t been any outbreak of disease due to rampant consumption of unpasteurized milk.
- Samosas. Now if you really want to see a strange reason to ban food items, you can check out how the Samosa was banned in Somalia. A militant organization calling itself the al-Shabaab group went around with loudspeakers on trucks in the areas they controlled to announce the ban.
And just what’s so wrong about the triangular spicy snack? Apparently, it was “too Christian” and therefore offensive. Maybe the triangle shape reminded them too much of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…
- Marmite, Vegemite, and even Horlicks and Ovaltine. What do all these have in common? They’re fortified with vitamins, and in Denmark that’s a bad thing. So that’s why the Danish authorities banned them.
The Danes did clarify that these items weren’t banned at all. It’s just that any food that’s been fortified with vitamins has to be approved of by the authorities. Their concern is that people may overdose on vitamins.
What doesn’t make sense is that marmite is fortified with B vitamins like B12. And it’s virtually impossible to overdose on B vitamins, because they’re flushed out of the human body every day.
- Ketchup. Let’s end this list with the French, whose cuisine is renowned worldwide. These people have a special hatred for ketchup, because according to them it “”masks the taste of whatever they are eating.” It’s a threat to traditional French cooking, and that’s why it’s banned on primary schools across the country.
What food would you ban, if you had your way? And would your reasons for banning the food be any better than what we’ve just listed?