Forbidden Food Around The World

Do you like foie gras, pastry with poppy seeds, salmon, or chewing gum? These and many other food items are forbidden in certain parts of the world. Which ones and why?  There are many different reasons, as you will now learn.

What Works In One Country Doesn’t Work In Another


The list of forbidden food

Let’s start with the obvious:

Chewing gum has been banned for many years in Singapore. The logic behind this is very clear – to avoid the costly clean-up caused by discarded chewing gum. Exceptions are made for dental and nicotine gum.

Poppy seed

One of the common ingredients in European or Indian cuisine is prohibited in other parts of the world. In some places the prohibition is limited to certain types of poppy, in other places, there is a complete ban, with reasons varying from religious issues in Saudi Arabia or the UAE to anti-drug measures in Singapore.

 Horse meat

Commonly consumed in Asia and acceptable on a limited basis in Europe, horse meat is taboo in the USA, the UK, and Ireland . . . with the notable exception of the Faculty Club at Harvard, where it has been an item on the menu since World War II when it was a way around wartime meat rationing.


The daily bread of the Poète maudit, Absinthe has shaken off complete prohibition in many parts of the world.  There are nevertheless still some restrictions remaining in the USA while in many parts of Europe Absinthe is available. Absinthe today can contain only controlled amounts of the chemical thujone, which can cause hallucinations.

Casu Marzu

A very controversial Italian cheese (from Sardinia) with living worms in it is an outright taboo in the USA. While the cheese is traditionally made and consumed in the county of its origin, the EU still disapproves it due to hygienic issues. The effort to secure EU approval for Casu Marzu is still ongoing.

Farm-raised salmon

This is prohibited in Australia and New Zealand, because specifically, farm-raised salmon creates, as a side effect, environmental problems, among them pollution.

 Foie Gras

While it is considered a delicacy in France and also in other parts of the world, it is important to state that Foie Gras is made of “sick” livers. Sick, because they are artificially enlarged as the bird – duck or goose – is forced, by tube, to eat harmful quantities of nutrients. While in France the production of Foie Gras is maintained by a regulatory code that states that Foie Gras is part of the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France, Foie Gras production on the other hand is banned in 22 EU countries.

Not its sale and purchase, however. In California, a complete ban of Foie Gras was maintained from 2004 till 2012 at the request of a coalition of animal protection organizations. Since 2012, a court case has been underway which has given rise to ambiguity as to whether or not Foi Gras can be purchased and served in California.


Check out the list of forbidden movies here.

Photos: Shutterstock

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