Special Report

America Eats These Things; Other Countries Ban Them

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One of the (many) hot-button issues raised by Brexit, was the controversy over chicken washed in chlorine. Chlorine? Isn’t that what they put in swimming pools? 

Yes, but it’s used in pools because it’s an effective antibacterial agent, and most American chickens are raised under conditions that promote bacterial growth, which a chlorine rinse destroys. (If a little chlorine doesn’t bother you, sample our nation’s favorite bird at one of the 30 best fried chicken places in America.)

The EU banned the use of chlorine and related chemicals for chicken in 1997, and the UK abided by the ban. Many British health officials and consumers, however, were concerned that the disconnect from Europe coupled with a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States would see their supermarkets suddenly flooded with chlorinated chicken. (It hasn’t happened yet.)

Chlorine is but one of the many treatments, ingredients, and foodstuffs that are considered acceptable by authorities in the U.S. but are banned or restricted in the EU and/or other countries around the world. 

Some are chemicals added to foods or applied to their exteriors, like diphenylamine, a fungicide used to clean apples and other fruits; ractopamine, a muscle-relaxant fed to pigs to promote growth and reduce fat; and azodicarbonamide, a bleaching agent used in packaged processed foods like frozen dinners and flour mixes — and also, unsettlingly, a constituent of foamed plastic items, like yoga mats. 

Other bans apply to foods themselves, like farm-raised salmon (known to contain various persistent organic pollutants, or POPs) or genetically modified fruit. 

Additives, by the way, aren’t the only problem with good-for-you fare like fish and fruit. These are some healthy foods that are actually ruining your diet.

Click here to see things Americans eat that other countries ban.

In the case of certain brand-name foods sold internationally — breakfast cereal, snack foods, soft drinks, etc. — the manufacturers reformulate their products to conform to local regulations. 

24/7 Tempo has assembled a list of things we consume in America that are forbidden in whole or in part in other parts of the world.

Source: Baks / iStock via Getty Images

Apples and other fruit
> Banned ingredient: Diphenylamine (DPA)
> Where they’re banned or restricted: The EU

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Source: pamela_d_mcadams / iStock via Getty Images

Boxed mac ‘n’ cheese
> Banned ingredient: Artificial food coloring
> Where it’s banned or restricted: Norway, Austria

Source: Antonistock / iStock via Getty Images

Breakfast cereal
> Banned ingredients: Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
> Where it’s banned or restricted: The EU, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan

Source: NikonShutterman / iStock via Getty Images

Chicken
> Banned ingredients: Arsenic and Chlorine
> Where it’s banned or restricted: The EU

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Source: courtesy of PepsiCo

Citrus soft drinks
> Banned ingredient: Brominated vegetable oil
> Where it’s banned or restricted: The EU, Japan

Source: sanddebeautheil / iStock via Getty Images

Corn on the cob
> Banned ingredient: GMO corn
> Where it’s banned or restricted: The EU (most countries)

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Farm-raised salmon
> Banned ingredient: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
> Where it’s banned or restricted: Australia

Source: dtimiraos / iStock via Getty Images

Fat-free potato chips and crackers
> Banned ingredient: Olestra
> Where they’re banned or restricted: The UK, Canada

Source: MmeEmil / Getty Images

Ice cream
> Banned ingredient: Carrageenan
> Where it’s banned or restricted: The EU

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Jell-O
> Banned ingredient: Artificial food coloring
> Where it’s banned or restricted: Norway, Austria

Milk
> Banned ingredient: Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)
> Where it’s banned or restricted: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, the EU (most countries)

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Source: chpua / iStock via Getty Images

Pork chops and spareribs
> Banned ingredient: Ractopamine
> Where they’re banned or restricted: The EU, Russia, China, and other countries

Source: Saddako / Getty Images

Salad dressing
> Banned ingredient: Carrageenan
> Where it’s banned or restricted: The EU

Source: zeljkosantrac / iStock via Getty Images

Soy milk
> Banned ingredient: GMO soybeans
> Where it’s banned or restricted: The EU (most countries)

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Source: Antonio_Diaz / iStock via Getty Images

Sports drinks
> Banned ingredient: Brominated vegetable oil
> Where it’s banned or restricted: The EU, Japan

Source: puhimec / iStock via Getty Images

Supermarket bread
> Banned ingredient: Potassium bromate
> Where it’s banned or restricted: The EU, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Nigeria, South Korea, Sri Lanka, India, China, and other countries

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Source: bhofack2 / iStock via Getty Images

Supermarket tortillas
> Banned ingredient: Propylparaben
> Where they’re banned or restricted: The EU

Source: KoBoZaa / iStock via Getty Images

Tropical fruit plates
> Banned ingredient: GMO papaya
> Where they’re banned or restricted: The EU (most countries), Japan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand

Source: dbvirago / iStock via Getty Images

Trail mix
> Banned ingredient: Propylparaben
> Where it’s banned or restricted: The EU

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Source: monkeybusinessimages / iStock via Getty Images

TV dinners
> Banned ingredient: Azodicarbonamide (ADA)
> Where they’re banned or restricted: The EU, Singapore, the UK, Australia

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