American Foods That Are Banned In Other Countries

Over 600 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of American Foods That Are Banned In Other Countries
Voting Rules

Vote up the bans that will make you pause the next time you see the food or drink in an American store.

Food is one of those things that immediately sets one country apart from another, and edible items or practices taken for granted in one country may in fact be banned somewhere else. For example, people eat many strange - and sometimes horrifying - foods in the US, some of which would raise eyebrows in almost any other nation. 

What is especially striking, however, is just how many foods and beverages Americans take for granted, from candies like Skittles to drinks like Mountain Dew, which have been outright prohibited around the world. While many of these bans stem from a host of safety concerns, others emerge from politics and legal disputes. Vote on which bans might make you think differently the next time you see certain items in a grocery store.

  • With their distinctive bright colors, fruity flavors, and colorful commercials, Skittles are a popular American candy. However, tasty as they are, some of their attributes have caused concern outside the US. In particular, Skittles contain a substance called titanium dioxide. Research suggests repeated consumption can lead to damaged DNA, which in turn has been linked to cancer.

    While these concerns continue to be researched, several countries have blocked importation of the candy, but due to the dyes used, rather than titanium dioxide. Both Sweden and Norway have banned Skittles outright, and it’s possible the European Union may follow suit. 

    583 votes
  • 2
    498 VOTES

    A Common American Bread Ingredient, Also Used In Yoga Mats, Is Banned In Europe

    Bread is one of the most ubiquitous foods in the US, with entire grocery store aisles devoted to this one product. Of course, bread isn’t just made from grain, and in the US at least, it also includes a variety of additives, typically to improve texture and color. Azodicarbonamide, for example, strengthens the dough and bleaches the flour.

    However, the additive has also been used in a wide spectrum of industrial contexts, including in the production of yoga mats. The European Union has thus banned its use in food products. 

    498 votes
  • 3
    506 VOTES

    US Pork Is Largely Banned Overseas Due To Concerns Over The Drug Ractopamine

    Pork, along with chicken and fish, remains a staple of the American diet. From bacon to ham, hot dogs to pork chops, people in the US consume a lot of it per year (67 pounds per capita, as of 2019). While Americans might love pork, they may be unaware of just how many chemicals and additives go into its production. One of the most notable is ractopamine, a drug used in many pork farms to increase pig growth.

    Despite its ubiquity in the US, 160 countries have banned the drug, deeming it unsafe for human consumption. This, in turn, has led to a prohibition of pork exports from the US.

    506 votes
  • 4
    410 VOTES

    Mountain Dew’s Yellow Dye Can Cause Headaches And Hyperactivity

    Mountain Dew is another staple of Americans’ diets. As with so many other soft drinks, it's marketed to appeal to a younger crowd, encouraging them to embrace an active - and perhaps hyperactive - lifestyle. The soda's most notable attributes include its high caffeine content, its extreme amount of sugar, and, of course, its vibrant yellow color.

    The ingredient that provides this distinctive hue, tartrazine (known as Yellow 5), has a mixed reputation. It's linked to headaches and hyperactivity, and both Austria and Norway have moved to ban it entirely. 

    410 votes
  • 5
    415 VOTES

    Chlorine-Washed Poultry Is Deemed Unsafe In The UK And The EU

    In the US, it's common for chicken to be chlorinated during the preparation process. In essence, this practice is meant to kill the many types of bacteria that tend to cluster on freshly butchered meat. American food regulators believe this helps reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. 

    However, the practice has raised concerns in the European Union, whose concern stems less from the health risks posed by the chlorine - which are relatively low - and more from the possibility that the process might be used to mitigate other unhealthy practices during the production process. As a result, most American chicken has been banned in Europe, although the US has pressured the UK to change regulations in this regard. 

    415 votes
  • 6
    378 VOTES

    Little Debbie Swiss Rolls Are Banned In Some Countries And Carry Warnings In Others

    Little Debbie has developed a reputation for providing consumers with a variety of tasty snack cakes. One of its most popular are Swiss Rolls, a mixture of cake and creamy filling. However, tempting as they are, they have earned quite a mixed reputation, particularly in Europe.

    Unsurprisingly, the problem arises from the inclusion of two dyes: Yellow 5 and Red 40. The European Union has grown increasingly concerned about the potential impact these dyes have on children, so they have to carry a warning. Both Austria and Norway, however, have banned them altogether.  

    378 votes