Despite being a world superpower, not everything permitted in America is permitted globally. Take a look at what we have full—or essentially full—access to that other countries don’t. Some of them will shock you more about us than the countries banning them.
If you plan on paying a visit to Singapore, just be sure to leave the Dentyne at home, or else you’re risking more than just minty fresh breath. You’re risking breaking the law.
The sale and import of the bubble gum known as Bazooka Joe hasn’t been permitted in the country since way back in 1992. Although the law was amended a little bit 12 years later in 2004, rules still exist that control how chewing gum is both consumed and just utilized in general.
If you’re from Singapore though and find yourself curious about the health pros that can come from chewing sugar-free gum, you can actually get a prescription in order to legally chew said gum.
Although, this trick doesn’t actually solve all your gum-related problems in Singapore. Don’t even think about spitting your gum out on the street, because littering gum could land you with a fine.
Artificial Food Coloring
In the Scandinavian countries Sweden and Norway, you might have trouble finding those rainbow bagels that were trending all over social media last year—not least because bagels seem to be more of a tristate area thing anyway. In these countries, you’re not allowed to utilize artificial food coloring.
No, it’s not because Scandinavians would rather you gawk at their stunning landscapes than your multicolored cupcake. Rather, said food coloring, specifically both Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, aren’t approved of by those countries’ governments.
Those yellow dyes are found in many standard American foods, including, but not limited to soda, macaroni and cheese, and potato chips. (Do you think it’s a coincidence that not one of these choices is regarded as a particularly healthy option? No? Yeah, we don’t either.)
While a lack of artificial food coloring may render your food-centric Instagram feed way less colorful and aesthetically pleasing, you can take solace in the knowledge your body is better off for not consuming them.
Another thing banned in Singapore that we Americans are used to consuming is an ingredient by the name of Azodicarbonamide. In the U.S., this ingredient is permitted for use, and in fact is utilized as a means of bettering the texture of white breads such as those hamburger buns you find at fast food giants like Burger King and McDonald’s.
Singapore isn’t the only country where it’s banned though. The UK, along with European nations, and Australia have all jumped on the anti-Azodicarbonamide bandwagon.
One thing to note about how Singapore handles violations of this ban though is a potential prison sentence of a maximum of 15 years. That’s not even including the fine that could cost you almost $500,000.
The reason that it’s taken so seriously is because of the risk it poses to one’s respiration; it can even bring about asthma or elicit allergic reactions.
While farm-raised salmon is something you’ll likely find in your local grocery store, and sounds nothing short of delicious and a perfect dinner choice for a summer picnic, our friends below the equator in New Zealand and Australia, and up north in Russia might disagree, as they’ve all jumped to ban this particular sort of salmon.
Apparently, despite the way its name makes it sound, farmed salmon might have been fed chemicals during their lifetime which are actually pretty dangerous.
Unlike their wild counterparts, farm-raised salmon “are raised on a wholly unnatural diet of grains (including genetically engineered varieties),” though it isn’t limited to just that.
This sort of artificial diet then turns their flesh to a gray-like color, though this then results in them being fed something known as synthetic astaxanthin, comprised of “petrochemicals, which has not been approved for human consumption and has well known toxicities.”
Though they’re a frequent sendoff in American grocery stores, as well as many other types of stores, plastic bags might not be around for the long haul. Countries such as France and Tanzania have already banned them, after Bangladesh was one of the leaders of the pack, all the way back in 2002.
In fact, certain American cities have actually done the same, in banning them, with San Francisco as the first, a decade ago in 2007. Los Angeles followed, though not until 2013. November 16 brought about the implementation of Proposition 67, which is meant to result in all of California having to forego plastic bags.
This ban isn’t just limited to supermarkets—though they’ve certainly been affected by it as well—but all retailers. For those nostalgic for the days of plastic bags, well, California charges 10 cents before giving customers a recyclable paper bag or some other option.
The preservatives known as Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) are utilized to not only color your food, but give it taste, and of course, to help extend its shelf life.
The usages for both BHT and BHA are not exclusive to food purposes, but have actually contributed to a number of other items, including products that are made of petroleum, as well as cosmetics, and then medicine.
Despite the fact that both preservatives happen to be found often enough in American foods, 160 countries don’t find them acceptable and have subsequently banned them, not least because of BHT’s link to risk of health problems ranging from asthma, to cancer, and even more. Cereal from major American brands are both recognized as having used these preservatives, and have said they will eventually reduce this usage.
Countries that have banned BHA and BHT include, but are not limited to Australia, Japan, Canada, and New Zealand. Countries across Europe have also banned them.
If you agree that the thought of ever wanting to ban any bread, or carbohydrate at all, is a very painful idea to consider, well, Canada might not be your first choice for your next trip. In fact, while you’re at it, you can cross off the European Union. Oh, and China does this as well.
To give you context, these countries aren’t banning bread, just bread that has Potassium Bromate in it. Potassium Bromate is found in quite a lot of variations of bread though, ranging all the way from bagels (a staple, of course), to rolls, and bread crumbs, though it’s not limited to those.
Given that it has the word potassium in it, Potassium Bromate doesn’t sound like anything worthy of banning, but conditions such as cancer, thyroid issues, and even damage to the nervous system have all been linked to it.
Potassium Bromate hasn’t just been linked to those conditions, but the U.S. doesn’t appear to be on the road to limiting how much can be used, although companies offering whole wheat, gluten-free, or grain-based alternatives have been regarded with more care.
Certain Nail Polishes
While nail polish itself is yet to be banned in the European Union, there are chemicals that are used to make nail polish which are banned in the EU. This includes something that is known as dibutyl phthalate, which is a plasticizer.
In 2004, there were worries regarding the way dibutyl phthalate could cause some health issues, such as it being endocrine-disrupting. Following this, the chemical was banned in the EU, and brands around the world acted accordingly.
The FDA, on the other hand, hasn’t made the move to ban it in America, though DBP isn’t found in as many cosmetics for nails that are sold here as there were beforehand. There are only a few ingredients used in cosmetics which the FDA has banned because of toxicity in them.
According to Sarah Vogel, the health program director of the Environmental Defense Fund, “Cosmetics regulations are more robust in the EU than here.”