Banned in the USA: 3 Foods You Can't Eat in America

America has always been viewed as the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” While it might still be the land of the brave, it’s not the land of the free ……… at least not when it comes to a few food items. There are foods enjoyed around the world that the U.S. considers so risky that they're outright banned here. Some of these pose the risk of food-borne illness, while others bring agricultural pests into the country. The process of determining which foods are safe is regulated by the FDA or USDA, depending on the type of food in question. Here are a list of the three foods that are considered illegal in the U.S., even though some are only banned in certain states.


No one stateside is noshing on horse meat unless they're doing so illegally. That's because Mr. Ed and his equine buddies must be inspected for human consumption under the Federal Meat Inspection Act. However,the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service isn't allowed to fund the inspection of horse slaughter for human consumption, and since they can't inspect it, the slaughter can't happen.

While haggis isn’t necessarily banned, one of the primary ingredients of the authentic dish is, and that ingredient is animal lungs. Haggis, the national dish of Scotland, is traditionally made with a sheep stomach used as a sack to contain all the other ingredients (including chopped-up lungs). The USDA bans lungs for consumer protection because gastrointestinal fluids can make their way into the lungs of an animal during the slaughtering process, leading to an increased risk of food-borne illness. Those who make haggis in the U.S. use ingredients like ground lamb and organ meats from other animals like beef kidneys or chicken livers.

The ban on gooseberries mainly applies to people in the Northeastern section of the country these days, a big relief to fans of sweet, sweet gooseberry jam. Maine, Delaware, New Hampshire and a handful of other states  maintain the ban on the gooseberry and its cousin black currant because some species aid and abet a tree-killing disease known as white pine blister rust.