America Eats These Things; Other Countries Ban Them

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One of the (many) hot-button issues raised by Brexit, was the controversy over chicken washed in chlorine. Chlorine? Isn’t that what they put in swimming pools? 

Yes, but it’s used in pools because it’s an effective antibacterial agent, and most American chickens are raised under conditions that promote bacterial growth, which a chlorine rinse destroys. (If a little chlorine doesn’t bother you, sample our nation’s favorite bird at one of the 30 best fried chicken places in America.)

The EU banned the use of chlorine and related chemicals for chicken in 1997, and the UK abided by the ban. Many British health officials and consumers, however, were concerned that the disconnect from Europe coupled with a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States would see their supermarkets suddenly flooded with chlorinated chicken. (It hasn’t happened yet.)

Chlorine is but one of the many treatments, ingredients, and foodstuffs that are considered acceptable by authorities in the U.S. but are banned or restricted in the EU and/or other countries around the world. 

Some are chemicals added to foods or applied to their exteriors, like diphenylamine, a fungicide used to clean apples and other fruits; ractopamine, a muscle-relaxant fed to pigs to promote growth and reduce fat; and azodicarbonamide, a bleaching agent used in packaged processed foods like frozen dinners and flour mixes — and also, unsettlingly, a constituent of foamed plastic items, like yoga mats. 

Other bans apply to foods themselves, like farm-raised salmon (known to contain various persistent organic pollutants, or POPs) or genetically modified fruit. 

Additives, by the way, aren’t the only problem with good-for-you fare like fish and fruit. These are some healthy foods that are actually ruining your diet.

In the case of certain brand-name foods sold internationally — breakfast cereal, snack foods, soft drinks, etc. — the manufacturers reformulate their products to conform to local regulations. 

24/7 Tempo has assembled a list of things we consume in America that are forbidden in whole or in part in other parts of the world.

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