Thanks to import bans and federal agencies like the FDA and The Fish And Wildlife Services, America has had to sacrifice some pretty tasty and some really crazy food and drink from their everyday lives. Despite the products being enjoyed elsewhere in the world, these are 10 foods America will never see again.
While most people outside of Scotland would be hesitant to try the dish, it is still very popular in its homeland. The USDA banned Scotland’s most famous dish in 1971 because its main ingredients are animal organs. That’s right, this much loved dish is made mainly of a sheep’s heart, lungs, and liver, mixed with some spices and oatmeal, if that doesn’t sound yummy enough, it is then stuffed into a casing that looks like a sausage but is made the old fashioned way, from the lining of a sheep’s stomach. Haggis is usually served with main dishes and can be cooked into chicken much like stuffing in a turkey. The two main reasons it was banned was the outlawing of animal lungs being used as an ingredient in the United States, which means that Haggis can never be sold or consumed in the United States as it is originally made. The ban on importing British lambs in 1977 due to fears of transfer of diseases at the height of the ‘mad cow disease’ scandal also stopped Scotland from sending over any meat to American soil. However in 2016, the U.S finally lifted its import ban and allowed British lamb and beef to return to American menus, but if you want some haggis it will still have to be without the lungs.
Ah, Absinthe, the famous drink from Gothic romance novels like Dracula and the Parisian Moulin Rouge. The drink itself was created in Switzerland by a French doctor in the 18th century. The drink acquired its nickname “The Green Fairy” due it’s color and probably alcoholic potency that was rumored (though false) to be hallucinogenic and can reach up to 74%. It is dangerously intoxicating and can be accounted for numerous alcohol related deaths in the past. It is also a rough hangover to recover from. While it was originally meant for medicinal purposes, many troops took it to bars where it spread and became a growing social problem, causing drunkenly disorder, fights, and more violent crimes. The true reason that it is banned in the U.S however is because one of the essential ingredients, Wormwood oil. This has been proven to cause seizures in those who drink it frequently. There is a version in America that you can get, it is created with an incredibly low level of Wormwood oil, kind of like a loophole to making it legal, however true Absinthe remains banned.
8. Casu Marzu
This particular cheese is not only banned in the U.S, but it’s also banned in the place of its very origin; Sardinia, Italy. Before any cheese lovers get excited, it’s worth noting a can of rotten sardines would probably be more appealing than what is inside Casu Marzu. It’s probably considered one of the grossest but also most delicious cheeses there is and that’s because the big secret of the flavor is live maggots, yes that’s right, and a specific type at that. It’s one of the few things that could be banned based on its grossness alone. The process starts out by leaving a bunch of pecorino cheese out in the open to allow a cheese fly, yes they exist, to get into it and lay its eggs, which can number up to 500. The eggs hatch and begin to eat through the cheese and basically poop it back out softer than before. By the time the cheese is ready to eat there are thousands of these little cheese maggots inside. Oh, another thing to note is that it’s typically thought to be unsafe to eat when the maggots have died so the dish is best eaten with them all still alive. The reason it’s banned is because of the whole live maggots part, as it is generally thought such things are not safe to ingest and can carry numerous diseases.
7. Kinder Eggs
This is probably the most confusing to those that live outside the United States. How on earth could the tiny chocolate egg of so many childhoods be banned? It’s not actually any of the ingredients or the process in which its made that are banned, it’s the surprise inside that is the cause of its ban. The chocolate treat violates the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act of 1930 which bans all treats from having anything inside them that wasn’t nutritious. The little eggs can be found in every corner store, gas station, and grocery store everywhere in North America, except the United States. Basically, because the eggs contain an, albeit rather large, plastic container with a toy inside it’s deemed as a choking hazard. Since it’s marketed towards children it was much too risky to let sit on the grocery store shelves. The government is so serious about this ban that if you are caught sneaking some over the border you could face a $1,200 fine per egg, so maybe not worth it. It’s definitely one of the stranger things to be banned from American grocery stores, especially since the plastic container is large and hard to open.
Sassafras is one of those words that everyone has heard but not everyone is even sure what it is, well look no further than pre-1960’s root beer. That’s right, Sassafras was a main ingredient of root beer and is a common plant found in the yards of many North Americans, it’s something you probably see every day but don’t even know it. The plant has been used for decades, literally every piece of it; from the leaves to the bark, stems, roots and twigs. The plant has been used by Native American tribes for medicinal purposes and its branches were used to build ships in Europe. The medicinal uses of Sassafras aren’t actually outlawed, only the use of it in commercially produced root beer. Prior to 1960, it was a main ingredient of the popular drink but it was later found to have carcinogenic properties that could cause cancer, as well as containing a principal ingredient of MDMA. While some of the plant could still be used for certain purposes, it is outright banned from all drugs, drinks and foods in the United States. For such a little leaf it can cause a lot of trouble.
5. Shark Fin
Shark Fin isn’t completely banned across the entire Untied States, in fact it’s only banned in about twelve states including California, New York, Hawaii, and Nevada among others and three territories. The dominant reason for the ban on shark fin meals is largely because of the cruelty it involves and the risk it poses to shark populations around the world. In recent years there has been a growing global movement to enact a complete and total ban around the globe as it endangers many sharks. It is still commonly used in China where it is believed to have cancer curing properties, this of course has been proven inaccurate, but it is more of a tradition than anything else. Before regulations on fishing came into play, shark populations where almost dwindled down to nothing thanks to overfishing. The act of taking the fin from a shark for food has been widely condemned as it spells certain death for the shark and offers nothing more than a luxury ingredient for people. There is no health benefit associated with eating shark fin. To get the fin, fishermen will capture a live shark and slice its fin off before throwing it back into the water to bleed to death. This has been catastrophic on shark populations around the world and despite global efforts, remains a popular dish in China and Vietnam.
4. Four Loko
This drink is a popular mix between caffeine and alcohol, and although it is banned in the U.S, it is still sold in Canada, and has become increasingly popular in China. The drink was famous in the early 2000’s for getting you incredibly hyper while also getting you incredibly drunk at the same time. The product was at times referred to as “blackout in a can” which was not an inaccurate statement. A combination like this can be deadly, especially for teenagers who aren’t used to high contents of caffeine or alcohol and is reportedly linked to several deaths. This is the alleged reason it was banned in the U.S but the parent company of Four Loko made a deal with the FDA to no longer include caffeine in it’s drinks, which still allows the company to remain active. The caffeine is what likely made it so appealing to teenagers, as they began to drink coffee in morning classes and drinking on weekends. The fruit flavored concoction was created by college students who noticed people mixing caffeine with their alcohol in bars. They also came up with the initial logo of “horny, hyper and happy” which really summed up the effects of the drink. Ultimately, it caused young people’s pulses to exceed healthy rates and can cause many health problems like heart attacks, dangerously high blood pressure, caffeine addiction and much more.
If you were born anytime after 1969 then you probably have never heard of this product. It was a main ingredient in one of those sweeteners that you find in a small, maroon bowl in your local diner next to the ketchup and extra napkins. Discovered by Michael Sveda in 1937, the chemical was 30-50 times sweeter than table sugar, technically the healthiest of its competition, and didn’t even leave that gross after taste in your mouth. Its discovery was a complete accident as Sveda was in the lab working on anti-fever medication when he put his cigarette down on the lab bench – not a good lab practice, by the way – and after he picked it back up it tasted sweeter and he then went on to discover why. The reason for its ban in the United States is because of a test that concluded the chemical caused bladder cancer in rats. Since the sugar substitute was used in so many products from table side sweeteners to kids sugary treats, and even used in tablet form for diabetics, the FDA decided it wasn’t worth taking the risk, but they remained hesitant and allowed the company to continue on, growing to be worth billions. After increased pressure from medical experts, it was finally decided in 1970 that they should actually fully ban the product from the country. It was later discovered that the chemical isn’t consumed in high enough rates for humans to grow bladder cancer, which was very unfortunate for the now-defunct sweetener company. The chemical is still banned in the U.S but is used in many other countries like Canada in the form of Sweet ’n’ Low and as a sugar substitute in Coca-Cola light.
2. Beluga Caviar
Beluga Caviar is essentially like every other type of caviar out there. The harvesting process and consumption isn’t much different from other types. If you don’t know what caviar is, its fish eggs that are pretty expensive to eat. The reason it is outlawed in the United States is because beluga sturgeon are a critically endangered animal and the United States Fish and Wildlife Services moved to protect them in 2006 by banning the importation of the product. This was backed up by an international ban called CITES which suspended all trade with countries that produced beluga caviar, the only exception was Iran because they are considered to practice effective conservation and policing policies. The most expensive beluga caviar can reach a price of $4,500 per pound. Beluga Sturgeon can take up to 20 years to reach maturity and can live up to 118 years. They are one of the largest freshwater fish and can reach up to 20 feet in length as well as some weighing over 3000 pounds! Their caviar is amongst the largest and most valued types which has led to overfishing of the species. The most expensive caviar comes from the eggs of a rare albino type between 60 and 100 years old. Unfortunately it was nearly hunted to extinction and a very small number of beluga variety exists in the wild today and remains on the critically endangered list. Like Shark Fin soup, Beluga Caviar is mainly a luxury dish and offers no real extra health benefits, yet continues to be popular around the world despite its devastating effects on the beluga population.
1. Cadbury Chocolate
This one actually isn’t banned for any sort of environmental or health reasons, but for business reasons. It is also why many people from the United Kingdom are convinced Cadbury Chocolate tastes different in America. The US Cadbury is actually owned by The Hershey Company and they took certain steps to ensure the chocolate would be made in America. Back in 1988, The Hershey Company bought all rights from Cadbury to the United States market for a whopping $300 million dollars, this was probably to ensure the British candy maker wouldn’t become a serious competitor in the United States. This move allowed Hershey to not only change the way Cadbury chocolate was made, but also to accidentally spark up a perfect marketing pitch. Who has the better Cadbury chocolate, America or Britain? It wasn’t until 2015 that Hershey took legal action in the State of New York and imposed a US import ban on all Cadbury products made in the United Kingdom. The main claim behind this was that the U.S counterpart had the right to sell its own American made products, using different ingredients and recipes, since it owned the rights. The main difference is that the primary ingredient in the U.K version is milk while the first ingredient in the U.S version is sugar. This is probably why people tend to think the British versions are milkier, it’s because they are. The U.K version also uses ingredients like palm oil and shea oil in regulation with E.U standards, and this could be another reason that Hershey wanted the rights for the USA as they are not bound by the rules and regulations of the European Union.