11 Banned Foods Which Could Get You In Big Trouble

Jelly Cup © Anna Shkolnaya / Shutterstock
Jelly Cup © Anna Shkolnaya / Shutterstock
Photo of Andrew Webb
Food & Drink Editor27 March 2017

From poppy seeds in Saudi Arabia, to Kinder eggs in the USA, we explore the world’s weirdest banned foods.

Hungry for haggis? Fancy some foie gras? Peckish for poppy seeds? Depending on where you are in the world, your food choice could in fact be illegal. Here’s our round up of 11 things your don’t want in your baggage as you approach customs.

Kinder eggs

Kinder Surprise, was originally banned from the US | © Comrade King/Flickr

Reason: contravenes the 1938 Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act which bans items containing a “non-nutritive object”

Legal: Rest of the world

Jelly cups

Jelly Cup | © Anna Shkolnaya / Shutterstock

Banned: Europe

Reason: Contains konjac, konjac gum or konjac glucomannan, which are banned in the UK because their slippery texture is a choking hazard.

Legal in: Japan, Taiwan and Far East

Unpasteurised ‘raw’ milk

Raw milk | © Pixabay

Banned: Some US states, Canada, Scotland, Australia

Reason: due to potential pathogens present that may be harmful.

Legal: England, Wales, Africa, Asia, Europe and New Zealand


Samosas | © AS Food studio / Shutterstock

Banned: Parts of Somalia under the control of the Islamist extremist group Al-Shabaab

Reason: the belief that these three-pointed snacks represent the Christian holy trinity.

Legal: The rest of the world


Homemade Scottish haggis | © Bonchan / Shutterstock

Reason: a 1971 ban on importing products containing sheep lungs. Is in the process of being overturned, hopefully for Burns’ night 2017.

Legal: The rest of the world

Foie gras

Foie gras is considered to be a form of animal cruelty | © Maksim Toome / Shutterstock

Banned: India, San Paulo, California

Reason: production methods are considered inhumane

Legal: The rest of the world

Chewing gum

Chewing gum is banned in Singapore | © Steve / Flickr

Banned: Singapore

Reason: Singapore banned the import of gum in 1992 as the mess left by chewers became to expensive to clean up

Legal: The rest of the world

Poppy seeds

Poppy seeds - Banned for religious reasons | © Tony Hisgett / Flickr

Banned: Singapore, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, UAE

Reason: considered ‘prohibited goods’ by Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau, Saudi Arabia also bans them on religious grounds

Legal: The rest of the world

Blueberry Nutrigrain bars

Blueberry Nutri-grain Bars | © Wikicommons

Reason: contains the artificial colouring Blue #1

Legal: The rest of the world

Fugu fish

Puffer Fish or Fugu is a delicacy in Japan | © KPG_Payless / Shutterstock

Banned: Europe, China

Reason: incredibly poisonous.

Legal: Japan, South Korea & USA (under strict licence)

Horse meat

Horse meat was a major controversy in the UK in 2015 | © Mikey / Flickr

Banned: California, Illinois

Reason: in 1998 horse meat for human consumption was banned

Legal: The rest of the world

Do you know of any banned foods? Let us know in the comments box below.

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