Traveling is good for us. Not only is it healthy but it also helps us learn about other countries and see how different things are. Have you ever been to another country and found something that is not available in yours? Then wondered, why can’t we have it? Well, each country and its own food administration and policies that are responsible for ensuring the safety of its citizens. Like everyone else, the United States has departments that overlook things and decide whether they are harmful or not. Throughout recent years, the Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Products Safety Commission has made decisions to keep certain foods outside the country. While others question these decisions for not allowing foods that they consider to be delicious, there are specific reasons. Here, we are listing 10 foods that are not in the US.
1. Unpasteurized milk
Pasteurization is the process of boiling a liquid in order to eliminate pathogens and to prolong its shelf life. In 1864, Louis Pasteur developed the process to improve qualities of wine but milk wasn’t pasteurized until late 1800’s in Europe and the early 1900’s in the US. Pasteurization of milk is a widely debated topic, as some scholars believe that raw milk has health benefits while others say it is disgusting and unhealthy.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans the interstate sale or distribution of raw milk and all milk sold across border lines must be subjected to pasteurization. In the US, 20 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington DC and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia prohibit the sale of raw milk.
2. Mirabelle plums
In most cases, the government decides to place restrictions on certain things for health or environmental concerns. But the importing of mirabelle plums is banned in the US is for another good reason. The mirabelle plum originates from Lorraine, France and is a special delicacy in the country. The French government aims to keep it a delicacy as a means to attract tourists to the country. This is why the French and US government made an agreement to add the food to the list of restricted foods. France also has other foods such as wine and peppers that are only available in the country and cannot be found elsewhere.
Haggis is a Scottish food that is federally banned. According to the Scots, the savory pudding containing sheep’s pluck minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and cooked while traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach is delicious. But in 1971, the FDA placed a ban on the food due to the presence of sheep lung which is known to contain phlegm; thick viscous substance secreted by the mucous membranes of the respiratory passages.
4. Casu Marzu
If you’ve never heard of this food, then there’s a good reason for it; the food is banned in the US. Casu marzu, also called casu modde, is a traditional food from Sardinia; a large Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. The reason behind FDA’s ban on importing the food is due to the content it’s made of, as well as the unconventional way the food is prepared. It is made of pecorino cheese, which is left outside for insects such as a flies, to lay eggs on. Once that process is finished, the cheese becomes infested with maggots (that’s right, maggots), which consume the cheese.
The acid in the maggot’s stomach makes the cheese extremely soft. Sellers know the dish is ready for consumption when they see thousands of maggots roaming inside. Then, it’s up to the buyer to determine whether to eat the dish with or without the maggots. While the idea itself is stomach churning, the food is enjoyed by millions worldwide. Other than the US, the EU has also placed a ban on importing Casu Marzu.
5. Ackee Fruit
While the fruit itself looks innocent and delicious to consume, the FDA has a good reason for regulating it. The ackee fruit, which is mostly found in West Africa and Jamaica, is only to be consumed when ripe. Consuming an unripe ackee causes something known as JVS (Jamaican vomiting sickness). Unripe ackees contains hypoglycin, a non-proteinogenic amino acid that lowers one’s blood sugar level; ultimately causing hypoglycemia. So, the FDA has a pretty good reason for banning this fruit.
6. Wild Beluga Caviar
This is another food that is banned for a very good reason. The roe (eggs) of the Beluga sturgeon, is the world’s most expensive of all caviar. The Beluga sturgeon however, is considered to be a critically endangered species and it takes nearly 20 years for a Beluga sturgeon to reach maturity; making the eggs incredibly rare. This is why in 2005, the U.S. placed a ban on its importation; in hopes of saving the endangered species.
The pufferfish is a cute little marine animal that makes itself look gigantic when it senses danger. Apart from the cuteness, it also contains an incredibly toxic chemical called tetrodotoxin within its body. The toxin can be lethal for humans but many people have managed to make sushi out of it. That’s right! Fugu is basically a form of sushi, made with pufferfish. It is extremely dangerous and that’s why the US decided to place the food on the slammer.
Japanese restaurants still serve the food as it is considered a delicacy, but the chefs however, have to go through a three year training course and obtain a license before they can prepare the food. Even so, I will take a pass on that.
8. Queen Conch
Queen Conch is a large sea-snail from the Caribbean Island. Due to over-fishing, the species is becoming endangered. This prompted the US to ban the importing of Queen conch, dead or alive, from many of the Caribbean islands (namely Haiti and Grenada).
9. Shark Fin
The ban on shark fins is for a good cause. Every year, 73 million sharks are killed for their fins to make shark fin soup. The soup is considered a delicacy in the Chinese culture. It is also prominently used in Chinese medicines. While the ban on importing shark fins only exist in eight states in the US (as of now), efforts are ongoing to ban it from the entire country.
10. Kinder Eggs
This is probably one of the most unreasonable bans of them all. For some, Kinder Eggs bring back nostalgic memories. The egg shaped food has toy inside, which kids can play with once they have finished the chocolate. After determining that they posed risk to children, it was banned in the US, and importing it came with a hefty fine. In 1997, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reexamined the ban and determined that they were still a safety hazard.
The hollow chocolate eggs made by the Italian candy maker Ferrero, was finally allowed to sell their product in the US, by the end of 2017. It was however, redesigned and differs completely from other countries.