Food ingredients allowed in the U.S. but banned everywhere else

Posted on August 13, 2015 by


Here are some ingredients you can find in your everyday foods that are banned in other countries.

The amount of “pink slime” pumped into our beef has decreased significantly since 2012, when Americans learned about the meat industry hack. Despite causing outrage among grocery meat buyers, the additive used to bulk up cheap meat — which is banned in Europe — is still allowed in the U.S.

Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is injected into cows to increase milk production. Cows injected with rBGH suffer from breast tissue infection that’s treated with antibiotics, which enters the milk supply. According to the American Cancer Society, the increased use of antibiotics to treat rBGH-induced inflammation has contributed to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The hormone is banned in Europe, Canada, and Australia.

Farmed salmon are often fed grains and antibiotics, which turn their flesh gray. The fish are then fed a synthetic version of the carotenoid pigment astaxanthin to turn them pink. Although wild salmon is plentiful in some parts of the U.S., farmed salmon is a practice only banned in Australia and New Zealand.

You can find synthetic dyes in many packaged foods in your grocery aisle: It’s what makes our foods look so colorful. Most dyes are not harmful, with the exception of Yellow 5, but they are limited in other countries. Blue 1 and 2 are banned in countries including Norway, Finland, and France. Yellow 5 is banned in Norway and Austria, and Red 40 is not recommended for children in the U.K.

Olestra, known by brand name Olean, is a fat substitute used in many brands of low-fat potato chips. It has been shown to also deplete the food of nutrients, and cause severe gastrointestinal uncomfort (read: diarrhea). Until 2003, the FDA required a stomach-woe warning label on foods containing Olean. Olean is banned for use in foods in the U.K. and Canada.

If you’re buying papaya grown in Hawaii — which is the largest U.S. supplier — chances are it’s genetically modified to be resistant to a virus thatonce destroyed the island’s crop. There’s not a lot of hard evidence on the health risks, or benefits, of genetically modified foods. Genetically modified crops — including papayas — are approved in the U.S. and Canada, but they are banned in Europe.


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Posted in: Family safety