18 American Foods that Are Not Allowed in Other Countries

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By Jonathan Trent

When it comes to food standards, the United States is remarkably relaxed, allowing for the use of many ingredients that wouldn’t pass the first stage of quality control in other nations. Here are 18 American foods that are banned in other countries.

Mountain Dew 

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While most Americans will be fully aware that Mountain Dew shouldn’t be consumed on a regular basis, they may not realize it contains brominated vegetable oil. This ingredient is banned in Europe and Japan as it can cause memory loss and nerve issues.

Maraschino Cherries

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Maraschino Cherries contain a food dye known as Red 40, which has been linked to migraines, allergies and mental disorders in young children. According to NPR, there have been campaigns to ban Red 40, along with seven other additives since 2009.

Boxed Mac & Cheese

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Boxed mac & cheese is something of an American staple, regularly consumed by those who just cannot be bothered to cook anything after a long day. Many of the additives that make it so abnormally yellow are banned in Europe as they are the same chemicals used in shampoos and various medications. 

Chlorine Chicken

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In the USA, a lot of chickens are treated with chlorine, yes, the stuff you treat swimming pools with, to wash away harmful bacteria. According to the BBC, washing chickens with dangerous chemicals has been banned since 1997, something which is unlikely to change in the future.

Coffee Mate

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Everyone’s favorite fake milk, Coffee Mate, is unsurprisingly banned in a plethora of European nations as it contains hydrogenated soybeans. This ingredient is linked strongly to heart disease, which is why Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, and Hungary won’t go near it.

Froot Loops

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You just have to look at a bowl of Froot Loops to realize exactly why the ‘cereal’ is banned in multiple countries across the globe. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the ridiculously-colored hoops are packed with artificial dyes and won’t provide you with a nutritious start to the day. 

American Pork

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The treatment of pigs in many American slaughterhouses would be enough to turn millions of people vegan. The pigs are injected with ractopamine, a growth hormone which means they are eventually left unable to walk because of their size. This is why it is banned in 160 countries, according to Live Science.

Artificial Blueberry

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Most Europeans would most likely feel ill at the thought of consuming something called ‘artificial blueberry,’ never mind the fact it has been cited as a potential cause of brain cancer. That’s because the dyes used to color it derive from petroleum. Yes, the stuff you use to fuel your car.

High Fructose Syrup

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High fructose syrup is high up on the banned ingredients list in the UK and most of the rest of Europe, as it is mindlessly sugary and dangerous for your well-being. It’s often used in cheap products and has been constantly linked with diabetes since its introduction.

American Milk

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A large section of American cows have been injected with the rBST growth hormone, and they are beginning to feel the negative effects. This hormone passes through the milk, which is widely banned in Europe and across the globe as it can cause cancer.

Pink Slime

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Just when you thought food standards could dip any lower in the United States, a substance called ‘pink slime’ frequently appears in packs of ground beef to reduce the overall fat content. This substance is illegal in Canada and Europe, as it is, for want of a better phrase, gross.

American M&Ms

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American M&Ms required a little modification in order to hit shelves in Europe, due to the ingredients used to color them. In Europe, you’ll often find a range of fruits and vegetables on the ingredients list, as the colorings had to be made more natural.

American Apples

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In a totally unnecessary insult to the average intelligence of an American, non-organic apples are coated with a chemical-infused wax so they are shiny enough to appeal to the public. This practice, as you can imagine, is banned by the European Union.

American Cheese

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Most Europeans will likely take offense at the very fact that American cheese can get away with being called cheese, but that’s for another time. A large amount of American dairy products contain rBGH, which is a growth hormone that is banned in 30 countries around the world. 


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The low-calorie drink sweetener is banned in the UK and European Union, on the grounds that there is insufficient evidence that it is safe to consume, which is fair enough. According to the National Library of Medicine, stevia is not recommended for consumption.


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Twinkies are one of the most famous snacks to come out of the United States, known mainly for their hyper-sweetness and unnatural coloring. The dye used to color Twinkies, Yellow 5, is banned in Europe, meaning the recipe is often modified. Finland, Austria, and Norway have banned Twinkies altogether.


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Norway continued its crusade against American foods, banning Skittles, not only because they contained Yellow 5 dye, but also because they contain titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide heightens the whiteness of certain products, but has also been linked to lung cancer.

Farmed Salmon

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Not all salmon are caught out in the wild, so you may be surprised to know that American-farmed salmon is raised with the specific aim of distributing it for consumption. The salmon is fed a range of chemicals, including methylmercury, which can cause serious harm to unborn babies and young children.