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  • If you walk into a supermarket or an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant, it's easy to get blown

  • away by the sheer selection of foods.

  • In America, if you want to eat something and have the cash, the odds are you can find it.

  • But that's not always the case.

  • Some iconic foods are actually illegal in America.

  • If you try to sell or import these foods, you could wind up having your goods seized

  • by the government and facing fines - or even jail time in some cases.

  • Some are dangerous to the eater, some are banned for conservation reasons, and some

  • are just flat-out shocking.

  • But the one thing they all have in common?

  • They're not going to be on the shelves any time soon.

  • But the first on this list might be a fond childhood memory for many.

  • #20.

  • Kinder Surprise Chocolate Eggs

  • A tasty treat imported from Italy, these desserts are a candy and a toy in one.

  • The rich milk chocolate shell covers a plastic egg - similar to the ones hidden in Easter

  • egg hunts.

  • When the happy child eats the chocolate shell and opens the egg, they'll find a mystery

  • toy inside.

  • This made many kids very happy - but it wasn't without its risks.

  • Authorities were worried about the toy being a choking hazard, and US policies ban any

  • candy from containing a non-nutritive object.

  • So the Kinder Egg was banned in America despite protests, and the Ferrero company issued a

  • new version for Americans without the plastic egg and toy.

  • But what's the fun in that?

  • This next entry was also a sweet treat - but it hid its danger much more effectively.

  • #19.

  • Konjac Jelly Cups

  • Remember those jello cups you used to get in your lunch?

  • Popular in Japan, Konjac jelly cups look similar but come in smaller portions that can be slurped

  • in one go.

  • Made from a root, it's popular for being extremely low in calories and having a firmer

  • consistency than most gelatin-based desserts.

  • They come in multiple flavors and often have bits of coconut embedded in them.

  • But the low calories come with a dangerous drawback.

  • Because they're slow to dissolve and it's easy to suck down the whole gel, they pose

  • a choking risk to young children.

  • So while they remain a popular snack abroad - and konjac is still used in other ways,

  • like as zero-calorie noodle substitutes - the colorful snacks have been prohibited in the

  • US since 2002.

  • You might be shocked to know this next item could be illegal - you probably had it this

  • week.

  • #18.

  • Unpasteurized Milk

  • Milk definitely isn't illegal in the United States - countless quarts are sold each week.

  • But almost all the milk sold in the country, and definitely all the milk at your local

  • supermarket, has been pasteurized before sale in order to kill bacteria and render it more

  • shelf-stable and safer for consumption.

  • But some aficionados insist that pasteurized milk loses both the true taste and many of

  • the nutrients of milk.

  • Whether that's true or not, unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause illness

  • than the pasteurized kind, according to the FDA.

  • That's why it's banned in 21 states, and most of the other 29 strictly regulate it.

  • This next one used to be a common ingredient - but with a surprising kick.

  • #17.

  • Sassafras Oil

  • If you've heard of Sassafras, it's probably as an old-timey candy flavor your grandfather

  • gave you.

  • It used to be much more common, but is mostly known today as the key flavor in old-school

  • root beer.

  • Many root beers are flavored artificially today, and there's a reason for that - Sassafras

  • oil is double trouble.

  • Not only has it been linked to an increased risk of cancer and kidney and liver damage,

  • but it can be used to make psychoactive drugs.

  • This is all due to a compound named safrole, and while it's been banned since the 1960s,

  • extracts from the bark of the sassafras plant can still be sold if they're free of the

  • dangerous compound.

  • This next food might be banned in America - but it's iconic in Jamaica.

  • #16.

  • Ackee

  • The national fruit of Jamaica, Ackee has been described as being a nutty fruit with the

  • texture of scrambled eggs.

  • That's made it a common component in the breakfast dish Ackee and Saltfish.

  • But while it's a staple on the island nation, it poses a danger if not handled carefully.

  • When the fruit is unripe, it's loaded with hypoglycin A, a toxin that can cause hypoglycemia

  • and dehydration by impeding the body's ability to lower blood sugar.

  • The raw fruit has been banned since 1973 by the FDA, but not all hope is lost for fans

  • of the Jamaican treat - canned and frozen fruits are available, although carefully regulated.

  • But none of these foods can easily kill you.

  • That's not true for this next one.

  • #15.

  • Fugu

  • No, this fish isn't banned because it can puff up and stick you with its spines.

  • It's considered a delicacy in the sushi world, but only the masters of the sushi knife

  • dare to serve it.

  • That's because - as immortalized on an early episode of The Simpsons - hidden in the skin

  • and in some of the organs is an incredibly deadly toxin named tetrodotoxin.

  • This neurotoxin can cause paralysis and can kill people who eat enough, and one wrong

  • knife cut could contaminate the whole fish.

  • For most people, that's enough to steer away.

  • But many thrill-seeking gourmets are willing to take the risk.

  • But the government isn't.

  • Sale and consumption of Fugu is banned in the United States except for a select few

  • chefs who are properly trained.

  • But some regulations aren't here to protect us - they're here to protect the animals.

  • #14.

  • Horse Meat

  • While horses aren't endangered, they're viewed as beloved companions by much of the

  • country - and eating them just seems rude.

  • It's not illegal to eat horse meat, but it's not going to be easy - slaughtering

  • horses using slaughterhouses is illegal, as is importing the meat or selling it.

  • While the meat is a common delicacy in other countries around the world, the US ban was

  • just renewed in 2018 - no doubt pleasing horse lovers around the country.

  • Even if they may swear otherwise after their horse comes in last at the derby.

  • But it doesn't take much for a species to become endangered - as this next fish found

  • out.

  • #13.

  • Wild Redfish

  • The redfish, or red drum, was a common game fish in the American south and was generally

  • considered a good fish to eat, but it wasn't the most in-demand - until one chef changed

  • that.

  • Paul Prudhomme, a celebrity chef considered a legend of Cajun and Creole food, made a

  • dish of blackened redfish that made this humble catch the hottest fish in town.

  • And that meant fishing.

  • Lots and lots of fishing, which quickly led to the population drastically decreasing.

  • Since 2007, it's been a protected game fish, which prohibits the sale of any caught in

  • federal waters.

  • Fishing for the redfish is now banned in all states but Mississippi, although some farmed

  • fish are available.

  • And it's worked - the population is quickly recovering.

  • Not many people can afford this next treat - but that didn't stop it from becoming

  • endangered.

  • #12.

  • Beluga Caviar

  • Caviar, the salty eggs of the sturgeon, is one of the most expensive delicacies in the

  • food world.

  • And few were more prized than the caviar from the Beluga sturgeon, found in the Caspian

  • and Black seas.

  • This fish's eggs are prized for their subtle flavor, and could command as much as $200

  • an ounce.

  • The demand was high, and the fish was soon on the verge of extinction.

  • So in 2005, the US joined other countries in banning import of Beluga caviar, hoping

  • to help the species recover and repopulate.

  • While a black market still exists, the species has survived to this day - although it remains

  • critically endangered.

  • But it's not the only endangered treat from the sea.

  • #11.

  • Queen Conch

  • Most conches are small, and some are among the most venomous animals in the world.

  • But the Queen Conch, native to the Caribbean sea, is one of the largest sea snails and

  • has a meaty body that makes it a seafood delicacy.

  • Its size makes it easier to catch, and that's made it an endangered species.

  • While it remains a popular meal in Turks and Caicos, the United States has tried to reduce

  • demand by banning its harvest in US federal waters.

  • But determined seafood fans can always head to the Caribbean.

  • This next sea creature is a beloved resident of the ocean - but also on the menu.

  • #10.

  • Sea Turtles

  • Most kids probably associate them with the wise old sea turtle Crush from Finding Nemo,

  • but these reptiles are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.

  • That's led many species, including the Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles, to become endangered.

  • The US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that in California alone, 35,000 turtles are

  • caught and eaten each year.

  • While individual turtle species are protected and illegal to catch and sell, turtle meat

  • as a whole isn't - in fact, you might be able to find turtle soup made from land or

  • freshwater turtles on sale at a local supermarket.

  • It might surprise you to learn we eat these next creatures more than vice versa.

  • #9.

  • Shark Fin Soup

  • Oh, no!

  • A shark!

  • Stay out of the water!

  • While most of us have seen movies involving killer sharks, we are actually a far bigger

  • threat to them than they are to us.

  • The gelatinous fins on large sharks are considered a delicacy and are used to flavor a popular

  • Chinese soup.

  • Shark finning, which involves cutting the fins off sharks and throwing them back in

  • the water, is increasingly considered cruel and has led to the shark population decreasing.

  • While the sale of shark fins is only banned in twelve states and the soup is still a popular

  • - and expensive - offering, the act of shark finning is totally banned in US waters since

  • 2000.

  • The desire to protect sea life took this next delicacy off a LOT of menus.

  • #8.

  • Chilean Sea Bass

  • It may be an ugly fish, but all it takes is a little rebranding to make a seafood superstar.

  • Originally called the Patagonian Toothfish, this meaty fish was renamed the Chilean Sea

  • Bass to make it more appetizing - and it worked a little too well.

  • The mass increase of fishing due to demand rapidly depleted the fish in the wild, and

  • so the FDA stepped in.

  • While it's not entirely illegal to catch this fish now, it's strictly regulated and

  • only certified boats are allowed to catch the fish in specific numbers.

  • But no animal welfare ban has been more controversial than this next one.

  • #7.

  • Foie Gras

  • Almost as prized as Beluga caviar, this meaty treat is made from the livers of geese that

  • are heavily fattened, giving the liver an extremely rich and creamy taste.

  • The controversy comes in how the fattening is achieved - using a type of force-feeding

  • called gavage that involves funnels down the geese's throats.

  • While defenders say geese lack a gag reflex and it doesn't harm them, animal rights

  • activists say the process is cruelty to animals and point to the reaction of the birds.

  • That has led California to ban the sale of the product, with multiple cities including

  • Chicago and New York City following suit.

  • While a national ban isn't in the works yet, the activists continue to make the case.

  • But some of the next banned foods in the United States might shock you.

  • #6.

  • Bushmeat

  • This isn't so much a specific food as a class of foods.

  • It's common among trophy hunters to go to Africa and hunt large animals including Giraffes

  • and Lions - usually as part of a legal hunting program supervised by local guides.

  • While these thrill-seekers might be able to display their trophies on social media - to

  • many jeers from animal-lovers back home - they won't be able to bring their catch back

  • home.

  • Meat from African game hunts - named bushmeat by US authorities - is strictly prohibited

  • due to safety concerns, and customs agents will destroy any they find along with any

  • items that might have come into contact with it.

  • Some banned foods in the US can pack a deadly punch in a small package.

  • #5.

  • Laetrile

  • Have you ever eaten an Apricot pit?

  • It probably had a slightly nutty, bitter taste that tasted a little like a weird almond.

  • But eating apricot pits is strongly discouraged because they contain a deadly compound - cyanide.

  • This poison can be toxic or even fatal in large amounts, which makes it all the more

  • shocking that some doctors were marketing it as a cancer treatment.

  • Laetrile, also known as Vitamin B17, is a controversial supplement processed from apricot

  • pits and was touted by new-age pseudomedical activists as a cancer cure.

  • Banned in the US since 1980, it has been responsible for poisonings and may have been involved

  • in hastening the death of famous actor Steve McQueen.

  • But food or drink being poisonous hasn't always stopped its fans.

  • #4.

  • Absinthe

  • There are plenty of potent spirits out there, but few deliver the kick that this bright

  • green alcohol can.

  • A green potion should be a giveaway that danger lies ahead, as any fairy tale fans will tell

  • you, but absinthe has a pleasant - if intense - flavor of anise.

  • The danger - and for some, appeal - comes from the wormwood used to make it.

  • This wood contains the chemical compound thujone, which can be toxic in large amounts.

  • While the legends of absinthe being a powerful psychoactive spirit that drove people to insanity

  • may have been exaggerated, it was still banned in the US until 2007, when its import was

  • allowed as long as the thujone was below a certain level.

  • But these last three entries may just make you lose your appetite.

  • #3.

  • Haggis

  • A meaty pudding, this Scottish classic has shocked many people with its ingredients.

  • It's a sausage made from onion, oatmeal, suet - and a collection of sheep's organs

  • including the heart, liver, and lungs, ground up and encased in a sheep's stomach before

  • cooking.

  • While it's one of the most divisive culinary delights out there, most of the ingredients

  • are harmless - with one exception.

  • Sheep's lungs are banned from sale and import in the United States because lung meat is

  • considered a potential vector for respiratory disease.

  • But that hasn't eliminated haggis from the United States entirely - it's still sold

  • in a modified version made with ground lamb and often liver and heart, with canned versions