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13 Foods So Strange They’ve Been Banned

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Forget your usual pizza and pasta! We’re about to embark on a culinary adventure for the brave (or maybe the squeamish). We’re going on a worldwide quest to discover the strangest foods that are banned in some countries.  Prepare yourselves for dishes that include wriggling surprises, potential poisons, and ingredients you might not expect to find on a plate.  Let’s see if your stomach is up for the challenge!

1. Casu Marzu

Casu Marzu, sardinian cheese with worms
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Maggots abound in cheese. That’s Casu Marzu, a Sardinian cheese where the fermentation process involves fly larvae. While some Sardinians relish the pungent flavor and the “tingly” sensation of the maggots, this cheese is illegal in the EU and US due to potential health risks.

2. Haggis

Open cooked scotish haggis
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Haggis is a savory pudding from Scotland. Sounds delicious, right? Well, the main ingredients are sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, all minced up with oatmeal, onions, and spices. This dish might be an acquired taste, and the US banned it due to concerns about using sheep lungs.

3. Fugu

Fugu Fish
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Fugu is a Japanese blowfish dish. Here’s the catch: fugu contains a toxin that can be deadly if not prepared perfectly. Only specially licensed chefs can prepare this fish, and even then, accidents happen. Talk about a risky dinner!

4. Ackee Fruit

Ackee National jamaican fruit and dish
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Ackee fruit is a Jamaican staple, but it’s a gamble if you don’t pick it ripe. Unripe ackee contains a toxin that can lead to severe illness and even death. This is why many countries have import restrictions on unripened ackee.

5. Bushmeat

Bushmeat
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Bushmeat refers to wild animals like monkeys, bats, and rodents hunted for food. While it’s a source of protein in some parts of Africa, bushmeat can harbor diseases easily transmitted to humans. 

6. Shark Fin Soup

Delicious Shark Fin Soup
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Shark fin soup, a delicacy in some Asian cultures, is made from the fins of endangered shark species. The process of obtaining the fins, often involving slicing fins off live sharks and discarding them, has led to a global ban on shark finning in many countries.

7. Kubyak

Kubyak
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Kubyাক (pronounced koo-break) is a Russian dish featuring a whole, de-boned bird stuffed with various meats, rice, and spices. Sounds interesting, but the traditional bird of choice? Pigeon. Pigeons are often considered pests in in many places, making this dish a bit hard to swallow for some.

8. Blood Sausage

Blood Sausage with tomato
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Blood sausage, popular in many European countries, is exactly what it sounds like a sausage made with animal blood. While some enjoy the rich, ironic taste, the idea of blood in your breakfast might be a turn-off for others.

9. Raw Milk Cheese

Raw Milk Cheese
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Similar to unpasteurized milk, cheese made from unpasteurized milk also carries a foodborne illness risk.  While cheesemakers argue that raw milk creates a richer flavor profile, some countries prioritize safety and regulate or ban the sale of these cheeses.

10. Kava

Kava kava powder
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Kava is a Polynesian drink made from the Piper methysticum plant. It’s traditionally used for its calming and relaxing effects. However, kava can cause liver damage in some people, leading to bans or restrictions on its sale in some countries.

11. Red Dye No. 3

Red Dye #3 water color
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Red Dye #3, also known as Red No. 3, is a food coloring once commonly used in candies, cereals, and other processed foods. However, some studies suggested potential health risks, leading to its ban in California and other states.

12. Beluga Caviar

Beluga Caviar or black surgeon
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Beluga caviar, the eggs of the Beluga sturgeon, is considered a luxurious delicacy.  But due to overfishing and threats to the endangered Beluga sturgeon population, international trade restrictions make it difficult (and expensive) to find this fancy fish roe.

13. Absinthe

Absinthe strong alcoholic drink
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Absinthe, a green-colored liquor with a licorice-like flavor, was once popular in Europe. However, some claimed it caused hallucinations and other mental health problems. While science is debated, absinthe was banned in many countries for a long time. 

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