Don’t Get Caught with These 18 American Foods in Other Countries

While it’s tempting to bring along some of your favorite comfort snacks when traveling overseas, you can easily land yourself in hot water by doing so. You may be surprised to hear that many staple U.S. foods are banned or restricted elsewhere. If you’re planning your next vacation and want to make sure you don’t get caught out, we’re here to help. Keep reading to discover 18 American foods you shouldn’t take to other countries.

Farm-Raised Salmon

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Farm-raised salmon may be commonplace in many parts of the world, but you need to watch out if you’re heading to certain countries. This food is actually banned in New Zealand and Australia because of the antibiotics and other chemicals typically used in farming.

Genetically Modified Papayas

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A lot of papayas in the U.S. have been genetically engineered for immunity to the ringspot virus. While the European Union does allow the trade of certain GMO foods, these papayas have not been approved by the European Food Safety Authority. Therefore, you should not bring them along when traveling to most European countries.

American Bread

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Potassium bromate is sometimes used in American bread to improve the rise and strengthen the dough. Unfortunately, there are concerns that this oxidizing agent may have carcinogenic effects. As a result, it has been banned in many places, including the European Union, Canada, and China.

Chlorine-Washed Chicken

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Chlorine washing may be useful for killing bacteria, but there are also valid concerns over how safe and ethical chicken produced in this way really is. While chlorine washing is permitted in the U.S., it has been banned in the European Union to improve food safety.

Hormone-Treated Beef

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Despite concerns about their health risks, growth hormones are still fairly commonly used in American beef. However, many other places, such as the European Union, China, and the UK, have banned it. While these hormones do accelerate an animal’s growth and improve profits, some studies link them to a heightened risk of cancer and hormonal imbalance.

Milk with rBST

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Recombinant bovine somatotropin, also known as rBST, is sometimes used in America to increase the milk production of cows. But you should think twice before taking milk produced in this way elsewhere. It has been banned in regions such as the European Union and Canada due to both cattle and human health concerns.

Artificially Colored Foods

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Many different food dyes are used in various American cereals, candies, and snacks. However, because of concerns that certain dyes may cause cancer risks and behavioral issues in kids, dyes such as Yellow 5 and Red 40 have been banned or restricted in places such as the European Union and Norway.

Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)

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Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is used in certain kinds of American sports drinks and soft drinks to prevent ingredients from separating. Unfortunately, some research has linked BVO to behavioral issues and organ damage. For this reason, the European Union and Japan have decided to ban this emulsifier.

Azodicarbonamide (ADA)

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Azodicarbonamide (ADA) is sometimes used as a dough conditioner and bleaching agent in American frozen dinners and breads. However, other countries have raised concerns over its potential health side effects, such as respiratory irritation and increased cancer risk. This is why the European Union and Australia have taken the step to ban this chemical compound.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

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High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used as a sweetener in many different American foods. But as noted by Healthline, HFCS can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and heart disease. To help combat these health concerns, the European Union has begun phasing out its use.

American Apples

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American apples are often treated with a chemical called diphenylamine (DPA) to help extend their shelf life and reduce skin spotting. However, some countries have raised concerns over this chemical’s potential health risks, resulting in the European Union placing a ban on its use.

Processed Cheese

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Processed cheese may be delicious, but it also often contains preservatives and food dyes that can be harmful to your health. For example, it often contains sorbic acid and phosphates that are banned in some countries. Authorities and consumers in these countries are increasingly prioritizing dairy products made with natural ingredients.

Jelly Mini Cups

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Jelly mini cups are delicious and charming little desserts enjoyed by many kids throughout the U.S. Unfortunately, there are now concerns that this seemingly innocent snack could pose a choking risk for children. For this reason, the European Union has chosen to ban this dessert product.  

Meat with Ractopamine

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Ractopamine is a growth enhancer sometimes used in American beef and pork. While it can promote leanness in livestock and increase profits, this comes at the cost of several health risks for both animals and humans. This is why ractopamine has now been banned in over 160 countries around the world.

Artificially Flavored Snacks

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Artificially flavored snacks are common throughout the U.S. However, not all of them are safe to take abroad. These foods often contain chemical additives such as BHA and BHT that are banned in some parts of the world, including Japan and some countries in the European Union.

Olestra (Olean)

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Olestra, also known as Olean, is sometimes used as a fat substitute in American snack foods. While this substitute was originally developed as a way to reduce the calorie content of certain foods, it has since faced backlash over health concerns. It is now banned in the UK, Canada, and several other countries.

American Catfish

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American catfish are commonly treated with antibiotics that are banned in other parts of the world, such as the European Union. While these antibiotics can help prevent the spread of disease, they have also been proven to be toxic to fish, causing stress and other negative health effects.

Fortified Foods with Added Vitamins

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While Americans are generally pretty big fans of foods fortified with extra vitamins and minerals, European countries are less convinced. The European Union limits the quantity and types of nutrients that can be used in foods due to concerns about toxicity and overconsumption.

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