Do You Know Nutrition: Do you know which foods are banned in the US?

By Phylis Canion
Dec. 10, 2013 at 6:10 a.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

Are there certain foods that are banned from human consumption or for other reasons in the United States?

Absolutely, and here is a partial list of such items. As of this date, 21 states ban the sale of unpasteurized milk, or raw milk. Some states do allow sales in stores, and other states allow direct sales from farm owners.

Ackee, a raw fruit, is banned from importation into the U.S. from its homeland of Jamaica. The reason for the ban is a toxin contained within the fruit that suppresses the body's ability to release extra glucose, which can lead to low blood sugar and possible death.

Sassafras oil was banned by the Food and Drug Administration in the 1960s. Composed mostly of safrole, scientific evidence deemed safrole a potential carcinogen.

While the European Union prohibits the sale and consumption of the Japanese pufferfish, the U.S. rule states that it is illegal to sell, harvest or serve the toxic pufferfish without a license. License or not, the pufferfish's skin and organs contain tetrodotoxin, a poisonous toxin that can paralyze a human and lead to asphyxiation.

Shark finning is totally banned in U.S. waters. The reason: The fins are removed from the shark, and the shark is dumped back into the ocean. Although consuming horse meat is technically legal in most states, slaughtering horses for human consumption is banned in the U.S. At one time, slaughterhouses in the U.S. provided horse meat for human consumption in other areas of the world. However, in June 2010, Congress voted to extend the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to prohibit further slaughtering.

Casu marzu is totally forbidden in the U.S. This dish, a traditional Sardinian cheese, develops when cheese fly larvae are introduced into pecorino to promote advanced fermentation. As the larvae hatch and eat through the cheese, it softens. Diners have to dig in before the maggots die.

Thought for the week: Failure is always temporary, only giving up makes it permanent.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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