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What Foods Are Only Sold in the U.S.? Surprising List of Goods that Are Banned Elsewhere

Update Date: Jun 22, 2013 12:11 PM EDT

When people travel to other countries, there are certain foods that they want to try because these dishes are distinctive to the culture. Even if the food options, such as pizza and sushi, can be found throughout the world now, eating them in their respective countries of Italy and Japan makes it more authentic. In America, however, due to its status as a melting pot, cuisines from cultures throughout the world can be found. Despite being home to a diverse group of people, there is an entire section of food that is unique to America. These ingredients are unique, however, only because they have been banned in other countries for potentially being dangerous to health.

According to a new book titled, "Rich Food, Poor Food" written by Doctor Jayson Calton and certified nutritionist Mira Calton, there is a list of ingredients that can be found in American produce but no where else. Other governments have banned these ingredients due to the fact that they could be hazardous to eat. For example, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was placed in the hot seat after two mothers noticed that the company uses Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 chemicals in the American version but omits this chemical in some of the European versions due to laws. Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 have been tied to causing cancer in some studies.

Along the lines of these two chemicals, which are used to give the Mac and Cheese the distinctive yellow hue, the authors of the nutrition book cited food coloring as one of the biggest differences between American processed foods and European processed foods. Food coloring and dyes are typically made from petroleum and many of them have been banned in Europe but not in America. American products that contain these dyes range from sodas and sport drinks to candy and cake.

Aside from food coloring, another additive found in American products is Olestra, a fat substitute used in products that normally have fat. Olestra can be found in the low-fat versions of products such as potato chips and ice cream. This additive is banned in the United Kingdom and Canada, as well as several other nations. Brominated vegetable oil, which is banned in over 100 countries, is also a common ingredient found in citrus drinks, such as Fresca and Mountain Dew. This ingredient has been linked to many forms of thyroid disease.

The list, which continues in the book, reveals how potentially dangerous chemicals are eaten everyday depending on the location. It also questions how some of this ingredients can be used at all if they pose any risk for one's health. Whether or not these ingredients are truly bad or countries have taken extreme precaution is uncertain. What is certain is that Americans consume these ingredients everyday most likely without the knowledge that these chemicals are not used elsewhere. 

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