While we are usually allowed to pick what we choose to eat, a few foodstuffs have been deemed so controversial that they have been banned from sale. An astonishing number of these items have been banned because of believed negative effects on the health, safety and welfare of customers and to protect the particular species of animal concerned. Here is a list on some of the foods that have been banned in some or the other part of the world.
A delicacy made from duck or goose liver is banned in Turkey, the European Union, and Israel because of a process called force-feeding. The birds are force-fed corn mash or some other type of fatty food about 8 days before they are slaughtered to enlarge the liver and give it a fatty consistency to make Foie Gras.
Citing cruelty to animals, as these birds are not habituated to consuming so much food, many countries have banned this food item. Nevertheless, Foie Gras is readily available in many of these countries.
Still in the process of being banned worldwide, Shark Fin delicacies and slicing of shark fins are now banned in the Scottish and U.K. waters. The practice has been banned entirely in Hawaii as 60,000 sharks were killed off the waters of Hawaii every year. To protect the dwindling species an outright ban has been put against the unnecessary barbaric act. Shark Fins are usually used in shark fin soup, which was considered a luxury meal in many Asian countries.
Uncertified Chilean Sea Bass (Patagonian Tooth fish)
Banned in 24 countries for the fact that it was extremely popular in restaurants and houses and many feared it would become endangered. Known for being extremely delicious due to the flaky white flesh and a high fat content, the Chilean Sea Bass are sometimes caught and sold for extremely high prices illegally and are also raised in fish farms. Many countries have a limit on who can import the fish.
A widely used plant in treating ailments, aromatherapy, cure a cold and as a cure for syphilis by Indian tribes, Sassafras was banned in the 1960s. All uses of sassafras and any ingredient made out of it, especially Safrole- colourless or slightly black oil extracted from the root bark or the fruit- was banned as it was possibly carcinogenic. Rats given sassafras during lab experiments contracted liver cancer determining its possibility of being carcinogenic.
Commonly known as sweet leaf or sugar leaf, Stevia is a plant based sweetener banned in America, European Union, Singapore andHong Kong. It was banned on the belief that it was an “unsafe food additive”. Stevia is believed to have positive health effects like weight loss and lowered blood sugar levels. The ban on Stevia was later removed under the provision that it would be labeled a dietery supplement instead of a food additive. It is also said to apparently cause cancer but was failed to be backed with scientific evidence.
Gradually banned around the world in the 1800s due to a large increase in violence, mental illness and hallucinations, Absinthe made its comeback in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The 20th century researchers looked at absinthe and considered it to be extremely unsafe.
Though traditional absinthe is no longer made, the spirit is still distilled in many countries, particularly the Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, and Spain. In 2008, about 200 different types of absinthe were available.
New Orleans Chef Paul Prudhomme publicized his recipe for blackened redfish in 1980 sparking a redfish craze during the time. The recipe became so popular (still very popular till date!), that it threatened the redfish stock and in July 1986, a ban was placed on selling of the fish and all fisheries were shut down to allow the fish to naturally rebuild their population in U.S.A. The only state exempt from the federal law banning the selling of the fish for profit is Mississippi.
Known as Fugu in Asian countries ad blowfish otherwise is banned in many countries as the internal organs and a few body parts are highly poisonous. If you eat a wrong part of this fish or consume a poisonous part of the fish, you are likely to die from tetrodotoxin- a neurotoxin that destroys body’s nerve tissue paralyzing the body and causing asphyxiation.
In 1603-1868 the Tokugawa shogunate prohibited the consumption of Fugu, but this law died down as the shogunate’s power decreased. In the European Union, selling or consuming this fish is strictly prohibited. In the U.S., it is illegal to sell, harvest, or serve the fish without having a license to do so. This was enacted in 2002.
Much like the redfish listed, the Beluga sturgeon was becoming endangered, and a ban was imposed on the import of Beluga Caviar from the Caspian Sea in 2005 by the United States. The ban was lifted in 2007 with restrictions, allowing 96 tons of caviar to be sold worldwide. Although, spotting this caviar I just as difficult as spotting the sturgeon fish itself.
Beluga Caviar can be found sold online from many vendors or in one of those expensive restaurants serving a tiny spoon of the caviar for a huge amount.
Considered a taboo food in countries like the U.S., Ireland, Australia, Canada,and throughout various cultural groups around the world, Horse meat, though banned, horse slaughter goes on everyday in the U.S. as well as the U.K. The southern states in America are known for their slaughterhouses where the meat is sold to other countries. The slaughter and consumption of horse meat was banned as they are seen as companions and sports animals.