15 Foods You Didn’t Know Are Illegal To Eat
• What banned food is made using sheep organs?
What food requires a chef to train for years, just so it doesn’t kill you?
Here are 15 foods that are banned in the U.S. – at least under certain circumstances.
15 – Kinder Surprise Chocolate Eggs • Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs are hollow,
and have a toy inside.
A federal law passed about 80 years ago prohibits the sale of any food containing inedible materials,
and this counts.
• Apparently attempting to smuggle them into the country can actually get you detained
and fined 1,200 dollars.
• Per egg.
14 – Lazy Cakes • A few years ago, the energy drink craze
brought on a counter-movement of products made to help you calm the hell down.
• Lazy Cakes – later renamed Lazy Larry – were one of those products.
It was a “relaxation brownie,” and yes, we know what you’re thinking.
No, not THAT kind of brownie.
• The active ingredient was actually melatonin, a popular natural sleep aid.
But one of the brownies contains about twice the recommended dose, and fears over the sweets
being overused by children led the FDA to deem it unsafe as a dietary supplement.
13 – Foie Gras • While not banned nationwide, the government
of California has banned foie gras, and Chicago had a ban on it in restaurants in 2006 that
was overturned a couple years later.
• The issue here isn’t one of safety, it’s of humanity.
• Foie gras is made by aggressively and unnaturally force-feeding ducks and geese
through a tube to fatten their livers.
12 – Raw Milk • Raw milk – specifically milk that has
not been pasteurized – is banned in many states and heavily regulated in others.
• Even in the states where it is legal, it cannot be transported across state lines.
• The pasteurization process keeps potentially dangerous bacteria out of the supply, and
raw milk offers no such protections.
It’s a “drink at your own risk” kind of situation.
11 – Absinthe • Admittedly, absinthe actually kind of
looks like poison.
• In the early 1900s,it was considered a hallucinogenic drug that caused epilepsy and
• It even has a cool drug name: the “Green Fairy.”
• In actuality, it’s just a really strong alcoholic beverage that tastes like black
You can import it to the U.S. now, but since the core ingredient, wormwood, is still considered
a poisonous plant by the FDA, it has to be considerably diluted.
10 – Horse Meat • By the letter, you could actually eat
horse meat in the U.S., except that it’s basically impossible to get it.
• Horse slaughter is banned in the United States, and so is spending tax dollars on
the USDA inspection of horse meat.
• But food can’t be sold in the U.S. without USDA inspection.
So it’s not explicitly banned, but it may as well be.
9 – Casu Marzu • This is a type of cheese, purposely infested
• The maggots ferment the cheese and then lay eggs.
And then apparently some people in Italy like to eat it.
• Yeah, you can’t get that here.
8 – Fugu • Fugu isn’t banned, but chefs have to
train for 2-3 years in order to serve it.
• Why, you ask?
This Japanese puffer fish is highly poisonous, with organs toxic enough to kill about 30
adult humans per fish.
• Tetrodotoxin, in case you were wondering, is a neurotoxin that causes your respiratory
system to stop working until you die of asphyxiation.
• Also, Fugu usually goes for hundreds of dollars a plate, which is a lot of money to
risk eating a deadly neurotoxin.
7 – Mirabelle Plums • It’s neither health nor environmentalism
that keeps Mirabelle plums out of the U.S., it’s an obscure import law.
• These plums are protected as a regional speciality in France, making them almost impossible
• It’s a lot of legal nonsense, but it’s basically like real champagne having to come
from the actual province of Champagne, France, or real bourbon having to come from Kentucky.
They don’t allow its import so it can’t be grown stateside, protecting its “regional
6 – Haggis • Haggis is banned because the USDA bans
food with lung in it.
• And… haggis contains sheep lung.
Which really should be all you need to know about it.
• But in case you needed to know more, haggis is made by mixing sheep organs with oatmeal
and spices and mixing it all together in the sheep’s stomach.
5 – Ackee • Ackee is usually boiled and served with
salted cod in Jamaica, where it is the national fruit.
• But if taken before it’s ripe, it can actually kill you, or at least put you in
• It was banned in the States completely until 2000, but now it can be sold as a frozen
fruit, and it is still heavily regulated.
4 – Redfish • If you want to eat redfish in the U.S.,
you’ll have to head to Mississippi, the only state where it isn’t banned.
• A craze for the fish in the 1980s caused it to be badly overfished, and now it is outlawed
in 49 states while the population replenishes.
• Mississippi, as is its custom, chooses not to observe these newfangled species-protecting
Maybe they thought it would be good for tourism?
3 – Shark Fin • Shark fin, a necessary ingredient in the
soup that shares its name, was limited through a pair of acts passed in 2000 and 2010.
• The acts have reportedly helped the worldwide decline of the shark population by 90 percent
since they were passed.
• Shark fin is still popular in other areas of the world, but taking it off American menus
has helped preserve the shark population.
2 – Mangosteen • Mangosteen is an Asian fruit that is known
to be part of a number of popular natural cures.
• But if you’re able to get it in the U.S., it’s already been IRRADIATED.
• The U.S. has tightly controlled the import of Mangosteen, for fears that it would invite
the Asian fruit fly as an invasive species.
1 – Sassafras • Despite being one of the most enjoyable
words in the English lexicon, and an ingredient in foods and drinks you read about in Mark
Twain novels, it turns out sassafras is a carcinogen that causes liver cancer.
• When these results were revealed, the United States banned the use of sassafras
in food, and Canada followed suit.
• That means your root beer is now made of a form of sassafras that is “safrole-free,”
which basically means they took the cancer stuff out of it.