10 Foods Banned in The United States


Ever wonder how or why certain foods are available in other countries, but not in the United States? It is because the government has a specific department that determines what foods are safe for the American people and which are not. The  United States Food and Drug Administration is in charge of those decisions. These are 10 of the foods that the they believe to be unsafe for Americans to consume.

10. Imported haggis


Haggis is a Scottish dish made up of sheep’s lung, heart, and liver. Traditionally, this food item is encased in the sheep’s stomach when cooked. Imported haggis was banned in the US in 1971 due to sheep’s lung being one of the main ingredients. The U.S. Department of Agriculture placed this ban due to concerns about the spread of diseases carried by sheep.

9. Absinthe

Absinthe, in it’s true form, was banned in the U.S. by The Food and Drug Administration until 2007 because of it’s toxic ingredient, thujone, which was believed to produce a hallucinogenic affect on those who ingested it. In 2007, it was determined that Absinthe could be imported and sold as long at the product was not advertised at a hallucinogen, or pure absinthe. Absinthe was created in Switzerland and was originally made of grain alcohol, fennel, anise, and wormwood, among other herbs and spices. It’s recognizable bright green hue is caused by the ingredient, wormwood.

8. Beluga Caviar

The ban on beluga caviar is very simple. The beluga sturgeon that the caviar is derived from is a critically endangered fish. This ban was put in place in 2005 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

7. Shark Fin

Shark fins are used in Chinese and Vietnamese cultures for soup and medicinal purposes. Currently, the possession of shark fins are only banned in a handful of states in the U.S., but in 2017 the effort to ban the practice of shark finning and the use of shark fin from coast to coast gained momentum. The process of shark finning is considered by many to be inhumane as the fins are cut off, usually while the shark is still alive, and then the shark is discarded back in to the ocean to die. The effort to ban shark finning is not only an ethical one, but a conservationist effort to protect the number of shark species used for these dishes.

6. Kinder Surprise Egg

The Kinder Surprise Egg was created by the Ferrero company in the 1970s. It is a chocolate egg shell with a toy inside, reminiscent of Easter eggs. These treats have been prohibited in the U.S. due to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that prevents the sale of foods that contain “non-nutritive” ingredients. The “Kinder Joy” version is now available in the United States due to the company adding a separation between the toy and the edible treat halves, along with a printed warning that the egg contains a potential choking hazard.

5. Raw Milk

Raw milk, or unpasteurized milk, is banned in 22 states. Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to eliminate germs and other potentially harmful bacteria. While some argue that the process also kills healthy bacteria, the U.S. remains almost evenly split on the issue. Raw milk poses a high risk to pregnant women due to the potential for ingesting the bacteria, Listeria, which can cause miscarriage, fetal illness, and even fetal death.

4. Fugu

Image Credit: flickr

Fugu, also known as puffer fish, is banned in the USA due to the deadly toxin contained in the fish. The FDA ban on fugu is strict because if the toxin is ingested it can cause central nervous system paralysis, respiratory paralysis, and eventually death. In Japan, where the dish is legal to serve, chefs are required to train for three years and obtain a special license to be able to prepare this potentially deadly dish.

3. Mirabelle Plums

The mirabelle plum is a small, sweet fruit grown only in the Lorraine region of France. As it is a specialty of this one region, it has protected origin status and therefore cannot be imported to the US.

2. Queen Conch

Queen conch is an incredibly popular food item in the Caribbean, but due to a serious case of over-fishing in Florida during the 1970s, the fishery was shut down. It is still illegal to fish for conch in the United States. It is also illegal to import the conch meat from the Caribbean.

1. Ackee Fruit

While ripe ackee fruit poses little threat, unripened ackee fruit can cause severe illness if ingested. The ackee fruit is indigenous to West Africa and Jamaica. Unripe ackee fruit can also cause death if symptoms are not treated right away. Many people die each year from ingesting the fruit before it is ripe, especially during food shortages.

There are certainly some interesting foods out there, some of which you may want to try. However, we have government agencies specializing in food in place for a reason – to help protect the health and safety of US. citizens. AllTimeLists.com does not recommend or endorse trying any of these foods in the list above.