These Foods Are Banned Around the World, But Not in the U.S.

Banned Foods World Food Safety Day BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of

Before you take another bite of that burger or sip of that soda, be aware that it may be slowly killing you. Since you can’t always trust what the food industry is adding to its products, it’s essential to know what to be on the lookout for. 

Unnaturally dyed foods, hormone-packed meats, and dairy are what the U.S. has allowed for decades. But in Europe and Asia, several American-produced foods that have been touted as safe in the U.S. are actually banned or required to use a warning label abroad. 

This June 7, World Food Safety Day (WFSD), be sure to know what’s in the foods you and your family are eating. 

WDSD was initially created to help prevent and detect foodborne risks. This year’s theme, Safe Food Today For a Healthy Tomorrow, stresses that the production and consumption of safe food have immediate and long-term benefits for people, the planet, and the economy. 

Europe is much stricter about what goes into the mouths of its population, and because of this, name-brand food ingredients differ depending on which side of the pond you buy them. So here are some products that, although not banned in the U.S., should be prohibited from your household.

Got rBGH or rBST in your Milk? Gross

Unlike the wholesome ad, milk manufactured in the U.S. it’s not good for the body if it contains growth hormones. 

Not only should you be aware of the antibiotics added to milk, but of rBGH (which also goes by rBST). According to the American Cancer Society, this synthetic man-made growth hormone is used to increase milk production in dairy cows and increase your chances of getting cancer. So be sure to buy organic milk or one that says it is free of rBGH. If it doesn’t say this, you’re drinking milk banned in Canada and the European Union. 

Don’t Do Mountain Dew

Next time you have a craving for Mountain Dew, please don’t ‘dew’ it. Banned in the EU, India, and Japan, this citrus soda contains the food additive Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) that, according to the Mayo Clinic, can cause impaired balance, headaches, and irritate the skin and mucous membranes when consumed frequently. 

There have been reports of people experiencing memory loss and nerve problems after drinking excessive amounts. While few people are likely to consume such large quantities, bromine appears to build up in the body over time, a cause for concern.

Colorful Yet Toxic M&Ms, Another Banned Food

If you’re a fan of Mars Inc.’s M&Ms, next time you go to Europe, consider picking up a box of their natural food-dyed treats since they don’t use artificial colors. When it comes to U.S.-produced M&Ms, in Europe, there’s a ban in some countries and warning labels in others that read: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” 

A 2014 petition from parents in the U.S. asking Mars to remove those additives, and use natural colors instead, has still seen no change. 

What’s Your Beef With U.S. Beef? Hormones

Basically, if the meat comes from the U.S., the rest of the world wants nothing to do with it. In a study by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures, synthetic hormones used to promote growth in cattle, such as  Zeranol, Trenbolone acetate, and Melengestrol acetate, can increase the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. 

When you go to the food shop, look for the organic seal which prohibits hormones in raising cattle.