American Foods You Won’t Believe Are Banned in Other Countries

When it comes to American food, we often think of fast-food burgers, fries, and giant sodas. But did you know that some American foods are actually so bad for you that they are banned in other countries? It’s true! From harmful ingredients to questionable additives, here’s a list of 28 American foods that you might want to avoid the next time you’re shopping.

1. Brominated Vegetable Oil: Common Soda Ingredient

Did you know that there could be more than just a shockingly high amount of sugar in your soda or sports drink? Many of these beverages also contain an ingredient called brominated vegetable oil, which is banned in several countries, including Europe and Japan. It’s a flame-retardant that can cause a host of health issues. Make sure to check your labels, especially if you’re drinking smaller, lesser-known brands.

2. A Hormone Added To Milk

You might not be aware, but some American dairy products still contain a hormone called rBST. While its effects on human health are not yet clear, it has been linked to health problems in cows. That’s why it’s banned in several countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Europe.

3. Food Dye In Boxed Mac Nā€™ Cheese

Love boxed macaroni and cheese? Be cautious! Many brands in America still use yellow #5 and #6, which are food dyes known to cause hyperactivity in children. These dyes are banned in Norway, Finland, and a handful of other countries. So, make sure to read your labels and choose brands that don’t contain these chemicals.

4. Pink Slime

Remember the pink slime scandal of 2012? That ground beef additive, used to lower fat content, is actually banned in Canada and the entire European Union. The processing of this additive involves exposing it to ammonia, which can lead to health problems in humans.

5. Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically modified foods (GMOs) are a topic of debate, and many countries have banned them. Most of the European Union, Russia, several Latin American countries, some Asian countries, and four African countries have prohibited the use of American GMO products such as corn, soy, and papaya.

6. Chlorine Treated Chicken

Chlorinated chicken, treated with chlorine to remove harmful bacteria, is deemed safe for consumption in the US. However, the EU and UK have banned it since 1997 due to concerns about its effects on health.

7. Pork

American pork is banned in 160 out of 196 countries. The growth hormone ractopamine, which is used to produce more meat using less feed, is the reason behind this ban. It causes many pigs to become unnaturally large, leading to their suffering at slaughterhouses.

8. Certain Bread Products

Potassium bromate, a chemical oxidizer that helps bread rise, can be found in American wraps, rolls, bread crumbs, bagel chips, and flatbreads. It has been linked to kidney and thyroid cancers in rodents. It’s banned in Europe, Canada, and China, so you won’t find American bread products containing this chemical in those countries.

9. Frozen Dinners

Azodicarbonamide, a leavening agent, is used in American bread and can also be found in frozen dinners and packaged baked goods. It has been linked to cancer in rodents and has been banned in the European Union for over a decade.

10. Sugar Cane

American sugar cane is treated with the herbicide Atrazine, which is banned in the European Union due to its link to birth defects, reproductive tumors, skin sensitization, and muscle degeneration. It also poses a threat to wildlife and the environment.

11. Fat-Free Products

Fat-free snacks in America often use a substitute called Olestra. However, this ingredient has been linked to gastrointestinal disease in children and can cause terrible diarrhea in adults. That’s why both Canada and Europe have banned its use.

12. Chewing Gum

American chewing gum contains a preservative called butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), which is known to cause cancer in rats. It’s also found in cereal, baked goods, packaging, cosmetics, snack foods, meats, butter, dehydrated potatoes, and beer. It’s banned in Japan, the UK, and much of Europe.

13. Salmon

Wild caught salmon get their pink color from natural carotenoids in their diet. However, American farmed salmon are fed synthetic astaxanthin to achieve the same color. This synthetic version can potentially cause eyesight damage and is banned in Austria and New Zealand.

14. Fruit Loops

Fruit Loops and other colorful cereals contain artificial dyes that have adverse health effects on both children and adults. These dyes are banned in Norway, Finland, France, and Austria due to their link to cancers and DNA mutation.

15. Fake Blueberry

The artificial blueberry you find in NutriGrain bars, toaster waffles, and pre-packaged foods is made from petroleum-based artificial dyes. These dyes have been linked to brain cancer, nerve cell degeneration, and hyperactivity. They are banned in Norway, France, Finland, Austria, and the UK, where these blueberry products contain real blueberries instead.

16. American M&Ms

Take a look at the ingredients list on a pack of American M&Ms in the EU, and you’ll notice ingredients like red cabbage, lemon, and radish. The food dyes used in American M&Ms are banned in these countries due to concerns about hyperactivity in children and other health risks.

17. Maraschino Cherries

The bright red color of maraschino cherries in the United States comes from Red Dye 40, which is also used in grenadine and cherry pie mixes. This dye is banned in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Denmark over health and safety concerns related to food dyes.

18. Apples

Non-organic apples in the United States are often coated in a chemical-filled wax to make them appear shiny. These chemicals have been linked to certain cancers and are banned in the European Union. So, consider buying organic apples if you can.

19. Chocolate Milk

Not all chocolate milks are created equal. Many American brands contain an emulsifying agent called carrageenan, which has been linked to heart disease-causing inflammation, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases. The European Union has banned its use in baby formula but it can still be found in ice creams, salad dressings, soy milk, and some meat products.

20. Ketchup

Ketchup, America’s favorite condiment, was banned in all school and university cafeterias in France in 2011. The ban was enforced for health reasons as well as to protect French cuisine.

21. Potato Chips

BHT, a chemical used to keep potato chips fresh and crispy, is banned in the UK, Japan, and many European countries. You won’t find American chips with BHT in those regions.

22. American Cheese

American dairy products, including cheese, often contain the hormone Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). This hormone is synthetic and used to increase milk production in cows. In cows, it can cause inflamed udders and infertility. In humans, it has been linked to various types of cancer. That’s why it’s banned in 30 countries.

23. Coffee Mate

Coffee Mate coffee creamer contains trans fats from cottonseed oils and hydrogenated soybean, which can lead to heart disease. Several countries, including Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Hungary, Austria, and Switzerland, have banned its use.

24. High Fructose Corn Syrup

Although high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is not fully banned in the EU and the UK, its use is restricted due to its connection with obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. It’s best to avoid HFCS, especially in fizzy-sweet soda drinks.

25. Palm Oil

Most commercial peanut butter contains palm oil, which is bad for human health and contributes to deforestation in the Amazon. Many European countries have banned its use for this reason.

26. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners used in many sugar-free sweets, baked goods, and diabetic-friendly products have been officially banned by the EU due to their various side effects. These chemical products, being artificial, come with concerns about their impact on health.

27. Stevia

While highly popular in North America and parts of Asia, the EU and UK have a firm ban on the low-calorie sweetener stevia. Concerns exist about its safety and potential contributions to male infertility and some cancers.

28. Trans Fats

Trans fats have long been known to increase the risk of heart disease by lowering good cholesterol and raising bad cholesterol. Many countries, including much of the EU, Canada, and Brazil, have banned or strictly regulated the use of trans fats.


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