Depending on who you ask, governments are either benign protectors with our best interests at heart, or evil bureaucrats determined to stop us from having fun at all costs. While the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, there are some things that definitely lend weight to the anarchist argument. One example is what some people have decided to legislate about food.
Even though we all have essentially the same nutritional needs, there are some ingredients that have, for a number of odd reasons, got on the wrong side of some powerful people over the years. As a result, there are many countries that have been forced to forgo a load of really delicious things, often with no good reason. So we can all feel sorry for their unlucky residents, here are seven of the weirdest food bans from around the world.
Anyone who’s ever visited a brasserie or bistro knows just how seriously the French take their food. But, as great as dauphinoise potatoes and steak frites undoubtedly are, this obsession has had an unfortunate outcome for the children of France. The French have banned ketchup in schools except for one day a week over fears that children may become distanced from traditional cooking.
Despite being one of the USA’s major exports, soybeans have something of a mixed reputation overseas. In fact, over half the countries in the EU have decided to ban imports from America, citing genetic modification as the cause. Since over 90% of American beans are genetically modified, this is a major problem for exporters.
3. Salt and Pepper
You might find it difficult to think of any scenario where salt and pepper would be a potential problem. You, however, have not been to space. Since seasoning granules would simply float in zero gravity, rather than stick to food, NASA decided that all salt and pepper would instead be replaced by infused liquids.
4. Blood Cakes
They might sound like the centrepiece at a vampire birthday party, but blood cakes are actually an important culinary tradition around the world. That hasn’t stopped the United States from banning them. Foods such as black pudding and Taiwanese Ti-Hoeh-Koe are just two of the tasty treats barred from American soil.
Continuing the offal theme, Americans also have an inexplicable vendetta against this classic Scottish delicacy. The dispute stems from a 1971 ruling, which banned the consumption of livestock’s lungs.
6. Chewing Gum
Though there are loads of people who secretly find the idea of spitting gum out on the street extremely obnoxious, there aren’t many who’d try to punish you for it. Unless, that is, you live in Singapore. In an attempt to keep the streets clean, the sticky substance has been banned since 1992, and anyone caught selling it risks a two-year jail sentence.
It’s tough to think of any good reason why something as tasty as a samosa would ever warrant a ban, but that didn’t stop Somali authorities from trying to come up with one. Using the cover of an investigation into rotten meat, it’s largely believed that the military leaders of Al-Shabaab were determined to destroy the pastry as its three sided shape too closely resembled the holy trinity.
You might think that enjoying your favourite foods and drinks is an absolute given. But, as these bans prove, they can be taken away in the blink of an eye. Cherish every second you have with them. You never know when it might be your last.