The United States of America has always been known as a country full of democracy, freedom of speech, and a land where anything is possible. Throughout history, the U.S. has always done things differently and marched to the beat of their own drum. Whether for better, or worse, the U.S. has become a land full of opportunities because of the freedom associated with it.
While the U.S. is full of opportunity, it is also full of views and opinions many might not agree with. These varying views and opinions can be found within serious, government affairs including politics and public policy but have also included varying views on food and ordinary daily items. With varying views and opinions, this has caused items that are praised in the U.S. to be banned in other countries. While countries under the European Union, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada have made a stance to ban items that prove to be detrimental to the well being of their citizens, the United States and the FDA still seem to be behind the times and have not made an effort to ban items that have been linked to popular illness including cancer. From common foods found in most households to a haircut that mixes business with fun, here’s a list of common American items banned in other countries.
15. Baby Walkers – Banned In Canada
If you’re a parent of a small child, then you might want to rethink moving to Canada. In 2004, Canada banned baby walkers because of the inconvenience the item causes, which is pretty ironic since the item was created to help parents teach small children how to walk and maintain their balance. Baby walkers were banned because they are said to put babies in danger and delay motor and mental development. If these reasons aren’t enough to stop someone from using a baby walker, maybe the fine of up to $100,000 or possible jail time of up to six months might make you reconsider. While parents might gripe about teaching their young children how to walk the old fashioned way, hopefully they’ll see the sacrifice to keep their children out of harm’s way and their mental well being as a way to cope with the lack of baby walkers.
14. Incandescent Light Bulbs – Banned In Cuba, Argentina, And More…
If you live in America, you probably never paid attention to what light bulbs you use because using incandescent light bulbs is so common, but if you live in another country, then these light bulbs cease to exist for you. While Thomas Edison is one of the biggest, well-known American inventors and has been credited with the creation of incandescent light bulbs, although there have been various refutes and debate about who created the first light bulb, these light bulbs have been called inefficient and ineffective when compared to other light bulbs that convert more of its energy into light opposed to heat. Among the countries that have banned the common American light bulb is Cuba, Argentina, and some countries of EU. Cuba was the first to ban incandescent light bulbs when it transitioned to CFLs with Argentina following in 2010 and EU countries completing the final stages of this process in 2012. For America to be viewed as a progressive country, it doesn’t hold a torch in this fight.
13. Plastics Bags – Banned In Bangladesh, France, Tanzania, And Mexico City
Paper or plastic has been one of the most common questions to be asked when at a supermarket in America. While it may be among American culture of have your choice of paper or plastic, or sometimes a combination of both depending on where you’re shopping the weight of the items in your bag, plastic bags have been banned in other countries. In 2002, Bangladesh became one of the first countries to ban the item. Other countries that later followed are France, Tanzania and Mexico City. What’s more surprising about the banning of this common American item is that cities within the U.S. have also begun to ban plastic bags. In 2007, San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to ban plastic bags, and Los Angeles was the next city to hop on the bandwagon of banning this item in 2013. It was said that Proposition 67 would ban plastic bags within the entire state of California, and the proposition has been approved and put into effect as of November 2016. Plastic bags have been banned among all retailers including grocery stores and supermarkets and clothing stores. Customers now have to pay 10 cents for a reusable paper bag or an alternative. If this trend continues, plastic bags might become obsolete throughout the U.S.
12. Ketchup – Banned In France (Except When Used With French Fries)
Ketchup is probably one of the most famous condiments worldwide along with its counterpart mustard. From putting it on hot dogs and hamburgers to using the item as a base for sauce or even for the more simple use of dipping French fries, ketchup is renowned for the role it plays in the dining experience. While ketchup can be found at any stadium during game day, in 2011 France banned ketchup from school cafeterias. The reason behind this? According to France, ketchup was banned in an effort to preserve the quality and authenticity of French cuisine. Although the item is banned, it is only acceptable when using with French fries; pretty ironic, but also understandable because what’s a good side of French fries without a cool, refreshing condiment like ketchup?
11. Spankings – Banned In Sweden
If you were a child that got into a lot of trouble when you were young, you probably received various forms of disciplinary action. From rules and guidelines at home to having items taken away from you for a probationary period, there are various ways to being disciplined. One way in particular has lead to this form of disciplinary action to be banned in Sweden: spanking. While parents are free to discipline as they see fit, spanking and physical discipline have received scrutiny from many especially when done in public. Even celebrities and notable figures have found themselves at the center of debate when it comes disciplining their children. In 1979, Sweden banned the belt and paddle, making it the first country to ban spanking and physical punishment. In the U.S., however, spanking is still permitted and is even allowed within schools in some states: School corporal punishment is still allowed in 19 U.S. states.
10. BHA And BHT Preservatives – Banned In Over 160 Countries
While you may have never heard of Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), it’s certain you have heard of or seen the foods that these preservatives are included in. Food additives aren’t a new concept and have been used within the food industry to add taste, add color, or preserve the shelf life of packaged food. BHA and BHT have also been used across various industries and can be found in items used daily including cosmetics, petroleum products, and medicine. While the preservatives are found in packaged food in the U.S., the preservatives have been found to be carcinogenic and harmful to the well being of humans. Although BHA and BHT are common in U.S. foods, they have been banned in more than 160 countries. BHT has been linked to various health issues including risk of cancer, asthma, and behavioral issues among children. Some known American food brands to use BHA and BHT are General Mills and Kellogg’s cereal, though both companies have agreed to phase out the use of the additives.
9. Chewing Gum – Banned In Singapore
If you thought chewing gum was an innocent act and didn’t come with any consequences, then you’re wrong. While the chewy candy comes in various shapes, sizes, and flavors, this item has been banned in Singapore. The act of chewing gum was not banned per se, but importing and selling Bazooka Joe bubble gum was put into effect in 1992. Although Singapore did slightly change the law in 2004, there are still rules in effect to regulate the consumption and use of chewing gum. Pro to the law: any Singaporean interested in the health benefits of sugar-free gum can now get a prescription, which would allow them consumption of chewing gum. While Singaporeans can get a prescription, they’re still not off the hook. They can still face penalties and fines if they’re caught littering with chewing gum. Must be nice to have streets not filled with chewing gum to ruin your new pair of shoes.
8. Mullets – Banned In Iran
Referred to as “business in the front and a party in the back” the mullet has become a staple in American lifestyle. While the hairstyle is only popular in particular regions of the country, mainly the southern states and areas known for the country, rural life, mullets have always been associated as an American item. Mullets have been seen in movies like Joe Dirt, have been featured in internationally known television series like The Simpsons, and have even been incorporated into the fashion world though it never really made a big splash— the mullet is as American as it gets. In 2010, the Islamic Republic of Iran banned mullets and labeled them as decadent. Other hairstyles banned are spikes and ponytails. Want to rebel and get one of these banned hairstyles as a way to stand out? Then prepare for a fine as well as having to change your hairstyle.
7. Tobacco – Banned In Bhutan
While the U.S. is split with some fighting for the right to free will and freedom to smoke while others are advocating for strict rules to enforce on the act of smoking harmful tobacco products in public, Tobacco still happens to be a legal item in America. In the U.S. Tobacco sale and consumption is as common, and frequently found in stores, as large food chains including McDonald’s, Dublin Donuts, and Starbucks, its popularity has not stopped other countries from banning it and enforcing strict laws. In 2010, Bhutan, which was named the happiest country in Asia, enforced its Tobacco Control Act to help increase the country’s overall happiness among citizens. The act was established by what was once ranked the eighth happiest country in the world set to ban the cultivation, harvesting, production and sale of harmless tobacco products. Even though strict laws have been enforced to regulate the growing and distribution of tobacco in the country, smoking tobacco is legal and citizens are more than free to smoke if they would like, although the regulations set in place might make one reconsider.
6. Artificial Food Coloring – Banned In Norway And Sweden
What makes cooking and culinary arts so fun, besides the deliciousness of the dishes, is the array of colors and vibrant hues served on a plate. Fruits and vegetables come in an assortment of colors naturally, but it’s been known that artificial colors have been used in food to give a brighter, more potent color. While a little food coloring doesn’t sound harmful, especially when you think about how fun it is to use food dye during Easter, artificial coloring does have its hiccups, which is why it has been banned in places outside of the U.S.. Artificial colors Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 are found in a number of common foods in the U.S., which includes mac and cheese, potato chips, and soft drinks. Norway and Sweden have banned foods that contain these artificial colors noting the dyes may have a harmful effect on children and could actually hinder their activity and attention.
5. Farm-Raised Salmon – Banned In Australia, New Zealand, And Russia
Salmon is one of the more popular seafood dishes worldwide. From the taste to its nutritional value, salmon has become a staple in the culinary world. While salmon is popular, its popularity and high demand has led to farmers raising Salmon as opposed to relying on freshwater fish. Farm-raised salmon sounds innocent enough, but it actually has raised red flags and has led to some countries banning the act. The argument states that farm-raised seafood is friendly, and better for consumption, because of pollution and dumping in the ocean and fresh bodies of water. However, wild caught salmon has many more health benefits: farm-raised salmon contains more fat than wild caught although it contains less helpful, healthy omega fats and protein. Farm-raised salmon also contains toxins that can be stored in your body and passed down to children through the form of breast milk for women. Countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Russia have moved to ban farm-raised salmon.
4. Bread With Potassium Bromate – Banned In Canada, China, And The EU
Potassium Bromate is popular within bread. The name might not be too familiar among many, but if you’ve been told bleached white flour is not good for you, it’s possibly because of Potassium Bromate. Potassium Bromate has been used to add elasticity to bread and to make bread rise more. Potassium Bromate can be found in rolls, wraps, bagels, and bread crumbs just to name a few items. While Potassium Bromate sounds harmless, it has been linked to various health issues including kidney and nervous system damage, thyroid issues, and cancer. Countries that have been proactive about banning Potassium Bromate because of its harmful nature are Canada, China, and the European Union. The U.S. has yet to ban or put restrictions on the use of Potassium Bromate, but a more cautious approach has been taken by companies who now offer various types of bread including whole wheat, grain-based breads, and even gluten-free options.
3. Olestra/Olean – Banned In Canada And United Kingdom
Chips and french fries have become a staple and a major side dish for meals in the U.S.. If you order a sandwich, burger, soup, etc., it’s possible that chips or french fries might accompany your meal. While chips and french fries are delicious and make it very hard to eat just one, some do contain ingredients that are damaging and can cause health issues. Of these ingredients are Olestra/Olean. Olestra/Olean, which was approved by the FDA in 1996, was created to be a calorie and cholesterol free substitute used in fat-free snacks. The fat substitute has been linked to various digestive issues including cramps and bowel problems. Olestra/Olean has also been linked to depletion of vitamins including Vitamin A, D, E, and K. Countries that have banned Olestra/Olean are the United Kingdom and Canada. As delicious and tasty chips and french fries are, hearing about the harmful nature of Olestra/Olean would make anyone reconsider how much they eat them and how frequently you eat them.
2. Milk And Dairy Products With rBGH – Banned In Australia, Canada, Israel, And More…
Growth hormones have become a growing concern when it comes to food cultivation and processing in the U.S.. Growth hormones are known to increase the size and appearance of food, but they have also been tied to alarming health issues and concerns. From injecting animals with growth hormones to consume their meat to injecting animals that produce dairy products, growth hormones are used extremely frequently. rBGH is one of the many growth hormones used in animals to increase their milk production. rBGH has been connected to various forms of cancer including breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer. rBGH has been linked to serious health issues, which is why milk and dairy products containing the growth hormone was banned in other countries. Countries that have banned milk and dairy products containing rBGH are Australia, New Zealand, Israel, the European Union, and Canada. In 1999, the UN Safety Agency agreed to not set safety standards for rBGH, which resulted in an international ban of U.S. milk.
1. Nail Polish Ingredients – Banned In The EU
Nail polish and nail art continues to grow in the U.S. as a part of the fashion and beauty industry. The various brands and endless colors allow any consumer to have their fair pick of nail polishes and color combinations. While nail polish is fun and playful, some do contain chemicals that can be harmful. The European Union banned dibutyl phthalate, a plasticizer used in nail polish, because of potential health effects. Banning dibutyl phthalate has caused international companies to change the ingredients used in their nail polishes. Despite the health concerns and precautionary methods taken by the European Union, the U.S. and the FDA has not banned the use of the chemical. Dibutyl phthalate is not found only in nail polishes in the U.S. Dibutyl phthalate has been added to the California Proposition 65 list of suspected teratogens in 2006 and large companies began eliminating its use in nail polishes in 2006. Dibutyl phthalate has also been permanently banned in children’s toys in the U.S. although the chemical can still be found in other products.