15 Foods That Are Banned in America

Nothing defines America quite like its culinary creativity. However, due to concern for animal welfare, shocking and unnerving production processes, and the safety of consumers, some foods are illegal in the US. Read on to find out more about these foods.

Horse Meat

In the US, producing or selling horse meat for human consumption is illegal because horses are pets, and there are concerns about their treatment. Also, people believe horses should not be bred just for their meat.

Kinder Eggs

Kinder Eggs are egg-shaped chocolates filled with a non-edible surprise and are a favorite among children. These chocolates have been banned in the US because the small toys or trinkets inside pose a choking hazard for children.

Shark Fins

Shark fins are a popular ingredient for making soup, a delicacy in some cultures. In the US, shark finning, where fishermen cut off the fins from live sharks and discard them back into the ocean to die,  is illegal. Millions of sharks are killed annually for this practice, so consuming or selling it will result in hefty fines and even prison sentences.


Pufferfish, also known as fugu, is a prized delicacy in Japan. However, due to a highly poisonous toxin called tetrodotoxin that can cause paralysis and death when not prepared correctly, its consumption is illegal in the US.

Sassafras Oil

Sassafras oil is extracted from the roots of sassafras trees and is used to flavor food items. Studies show it contains carcinogenic compounds, so the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prohibited its sale or use in food.

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Casu Marzu Cheese

Casu Marzu cheese is a specialty of Sardinia, Italy. It’s made from sheep milk and contains live insect larvae, giving it a unique flavor. Unfortunately, the FDA has banned this delicacy due to safety concerns over the disease-carrying larvae in the cheese.


Haggis, a Scottish delicacy made from minced sheep organs, oatmeal, and spices, is considered iconic in Scotland. But, this dish is illegal in the US because of the use of sheep lung as an ingredient, which does not meet USDA standards.

Ackee Fruit

The ackee fruit is native to West Africa and is popular in many Caribbean dishes. It contains hypoglycin A, which can cause vomiting, coma, or death if consumed before it’s ripe. That’s why the FDA has banned the unripe version of this fruit from entering the US.

Beluga Caviar

Beluga caviar is the roe (eggs) of the beluga sturgeon and is a favorite among chefs. But importing beluga caviar into the US has been banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) because of overfishing and threats to the species.


Ortolans are tiny migrating birds that are a delicacy in France. They are force-fed with grain and drowned in Armagnac brandy before being cooked. This cruel process and threat of extinction have made the consumption of this bird illegal in the US.

Queen Conch

Queen Conch is a large edible sea snail found mostly in Caribbean waters and a popular seafood item. The harvesting and selling of this species is not allowed in the US, as it has become increasingly rare.

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The US has banned the consumption of bushmeat, also known as wild game meat, due to health risks like the Ebola virus and Salmonella, as well as animal welfare concerns. This meat is from antelopes, elephants, cheetahs, etc, which are often illegally hunted by poachers for their flesh.


Khat is a flowering plant native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula that is chewed or used as tea. It contains two cathinone compounds that act as stimulants and can lead to hallucinations, paranoia, hypertension, and addiction. Khat has been classified as a controlled substance to protect people from its potential harm.

Foie Gras

Foie gras, a luxurious food made from the liver of specially fattened ducks and geese, is produced by force-feeding them large amounts of corn, leading to the enlargement of their livers, which is the source of the delicacy. But its production and sale are banned in some states due to animal cruelty concerns.

Chilean Sea Bass

Chilean sea bass, also known as Patagonian toothfish, is a popular fish found in the cold waters of the Southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is near extinction and is now a species that needs protection, listed by NOAA Fisheries, so its harvest and sale are prohibited in the US.

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