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Snacks and other food items banned in the U.S.

  • Snacks and other food items banned in the U.S.

    Few things define a culture quite like its food, and the United States is no different. From regional favorites like collard greens and cornbread to the country’s allegiance to boxed macaroni and cheese, the United States is a place of seemingly endless gastronomic choices. However, there are some foods that are practically impossible to find stateside, and that’s because they’ve landed themselves on the banned food list.

    That’s right, there are certain foods eaten throughout the world that simply aren’t allowed in the states. In some cases, the FDA is responsible for keeping treats like Kinder Eggs from crossing the border, but sometimes foods find themselves facing down state laws or the court of public opinion. Stacker has compiled a list of foods and beverages that have either been banned across the entire country, by certain states, or in schools. In some cases, these bans have made it nearly impossible to find these foods in the U.S.—at least not in the form they’re available in throughout the rest of the world.

    From tasty cheeses to the famed Scottish dish haggis, these 30 foods aren’t welcome in most of the United States.

    You may also like: Common U.S. foods that are banned in other countries

  • #1. Epoisse cheese

    Epoisse has a strong odor and bold taste, but the French cheese isn’t sold in America, at least not in its traditional form. This is due to the cheese being made from unpasteurized milk. If you want to try the real deal, then you may have to plan a European vacation.

  • #2. Silver dragées

    Silver sprinkles are commonly found on baked goods, especially during the holidays, but according to the FDA, you’re not supposed to eat them. The sprinkles are officially classified as a non-edible because silver is not supposed to be used as an additive or color in food. So while you can buy silver sprinkles at any grocery store, you’re not supposed to consume them.

  • #3. Foi gras (California only)

    While you can eat foie gras in most of the country, the luxury food item is banned in the state of California, and animal activists hope the rest of the U.S. will follow the state’s lead. Foie gras is controversial due to the force-feeding of ducks and geese that leads to their livers growing much larger than normal.

  • #4. Flamin' Hot Cheetos

    The FDA hasn’t waded into the debate over Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, but the popular snack food has become public enemy number one at school districts around the country. Since 2012, some schools in California, New Mexico, and Illinois have banned the hot Cheetos due to their lack of nutritional value, and, well, messiness.

  • #5. Swan

    Like many other animals on this list, certain swans are endangered species, including the trumpeter, which is native to North America. Hunting and eating the tundra swan is legal in some areas of the U.S., but trumpeter swans are illegal to hunt across much of America.

  • #6. Sassafras oil

    Nope, your root beer does not contain authentic sassafras oil. The oil has been deemed a potential carcinogen, and has been banned nationally as a result. However, it is not banned in substances where it occurs naturally like cinnamon and basil. 

  • #7. Junk food

    Clearly there’s no shortage of junk food in America, but California, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey have banned junk food and sodas from schools in an effort to promote better health among students. Canada has a similar ban that has reportedly helped lower the BMI of students who attend schools where the ban is in place.

  • #8. Queen conch

    Throughout the Caribbean, queen conch meat is a favorite dish, but overfishing has made harvesting the mollusk illegal. However, according to the Fish and Wildlife Services, the U.S. is “responsible for the consumption of 80% of the world’s internationally traded queen conch.”


  • #9. Sea turtles

    Sea turtles are on the endangered species list, but it’s still legal to hunt them in 42 countries and territories around the world—the United States isn’t one of them. While sea turtles have been used to make turtle soup in the past, their status as an endangered species has led to the dish falling out of popularity.

  • #10. Mont d'Or

    Mont d’Or might just be the holy grail of French cheese. The tasty fromage is only made once a year between Aug. 15 and March 15. It’s made with unpasteurized milk and as a result, it can’t be sold in the United States. However, cheese-lovers have been known to go to extremes to taste the legendary Mont d’Or. In a 2016 interview with Vogue, cheese connoisseur chef Ryan Hardy said, “By French AOC certification law, it cannot be made from pasteurized milk, so it can never be allowed in the United States. Its unctuous, creamy pate is only eaten when you peel back the rind. It’s then that you realize it’s the gangster, white truffle of all cheeses. This is the black market cheese.”

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