Monday, July 27, 2009

10 Gourmet Foods That are Illegal in the US.

Some illegal foods are illegal for health reasons, others are for the survival of a species or against acts of animal cruelty. Some may be delicious and others may be downright nasty. Different cultures all have their own palette. The United States has banned these 10 foods whether you’d eat them or not. Take a look and see what you can’t eat and what might be worth the risk to you.
  1. Unpasteurized cheese – Unpasteurized cheese is not your typical Kraft block of cheese. This cheese is full flavor and is touted by enthusiasts as the best cheese to ever hit your taste buds. It carries a dangerous health risk: bacteria. The FDA warns against eating any unpasteurized dairy products, but cheese lovers from across the country are willing to take their chances.
  2. Beluga sturgeon caviar – The eggs of the beluga sturgeon fetch prices as high as a few thousand dollars for as little as three ounces, but you can’t buy it in the U.S. The Federal Fish and Wildlife Service added the beluga sturgeon to its endangered species list in 2004 and approved a nation-wide ban on the import of all Caspian Sea beluga sturgeon caviar in 2005. Caviar from the fish is often considered the best available, but the fish are dwindling in numbers from overfishing and poor habitat conditions.
  3. Foie gras – A French favorite, foie gras is made from the fattened liver of a duck or goose. Two states have imposed bans on foie gras – California and Chicago. California’s ban will not take effect until 2012. Chicago’s foie gras ban started in 2006, but was overturned in 2008. What’s all the fuss? Foie gras is traditionally obtained by force feeding the waterfowl and then harvesting it. Many people continue to eat and enjoy the duck delicacy, despite surrounding controversy.
  4. Chilean sea bass – While Chilean sea bass are not illegal to consume, the U.S. government closely regulates the illegal fishing and importing of the buttery-tasting fish. According to the Department of State, consumers and restaraunteurs should ask about where the fish comes from before eating or buying it to help prevent the illegal harvesting of the pricey import.
  5. Mangosteens – Until 2007, fresh mangosteens were illegal to import into the U.S. because of the potential for Asian fruit flies to endanger crops. Now people can enjoy the delicate fruit for a high price from specialty stores. The mangosteen had some famous fans including Queen Victoria who would offer rewards to anyone that could bring her a mangosteen.
  6. Sichuan peppercorns – These little Asian fruits are the mainstay of many traditional Chinese dishes. The peppercorns are no longer illegal in the U.S. provided that the peppercorns are heated to kill harmful, difficult to control bacteria, citrus canker, that can kill citrus crops. The FDA lifted the 37-year ban in 2005.
  7. Raw milk – Raw milk drinkers have existed for centuries and rave about the health benefits of drinking the unpasteurized cow’s milk. The FDA does not though. As a matter of fact, the FDA has attributed illnesses and even deaths to drinking unpasteurized milk.
  8. Sea turtles – Sea turtle soup is a European dish that has been around for several centuries. A mock turtle soup must now be cooked from the gelatinous area of a calf’s neck and head since catching a sea turtle, much less eating a sea turtle, can land you in serious trouble with the law for poaching. Sea turtle soup is famed for being delicious, but the endangered species tops the list as a higher priority than soup for the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service and for the millions of people that stopped eating it.
  9. Moonshine – A product of the abolishment of alcohol, moonshine is still around today intoxicating those brave enough to sip it. The home distillation of moonshine is illegal, but for those who sneak the drink, it’s a delight worth tangling with the law over.
  10. Horse – While many people would probably not eat a horse in the U.S., Texas passed legislation to ban the slaughter of horses for consumption in 2007 to prevent American horses from ending up as dinner in foreign countries that routinely eat the animal.

Now you know some of the illegal foods in the U.S. so don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Provided by


Cookin' Canuck said...

I am completely willing to be arrested for unpasteurized cheese. You can't beat the taste and texture!

CaptnRachel aka Tha Pizza Cutta said...

thanks! we had a great office convo because I read your post to my officemates

Top Culinary Schools and Culinary Colleges said...

Very interesting post. I never really thought about some of these as food. I cant believe there are people that do.

Chilli mayonnaise said...

A great blog with some interesting information.
Australian made gourmet products