Ten Things Americans Eat that Are Banned in Other Countries

There was no shortage of heartache on FOX’s sci-fi series FRINGE, but one of the saddest moments took place in a supermarket. Mad scientist Walter Bishop, still grieving the apparent loss of his only son, decides to cheer himself up by purchasing some breakfast foods. However, he’s horrified when he reads the ingredients on a package of generic toaster pastries.

“Corn starch, soy lecithin, potassium bromate… POTASSIUM BROMATE??” he bellows, as security surrounds him. “It is known to induce renal cell tumors and mesotheliomas of the peritoneum! Do you know what you’re putting into our bodies? DEATH! Delicious, strawberry-flavored death!”

As it happens, this is one aspect of FRINGE that is not science-fiction, because potassium bromate is one of a large number of food additives and other potentially cancer-causing ingredients that have been banned in Europe and other parts of the world, but not in the United States.

10. Blue Dye No. 1 and Yellow Dye No. 5 & 6

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Blue dye no. 1 is a colorful ingredient found in ice cream, frosting, cereal, and certain liquors in the United States, but not in Austria, France, Germany, or several other European Union countries, where it has been banned. Blue dye has been linked with increased aggression and decreased attention spans in children. Yellow dye no. 5, which shows up in butterscotch and yellow-colored sports drinks, has been shown to cause growth abnormalities. Yellow dye no. 6, an additive used in macaroni, has been linked to the development of cancer in certain lab animals. Along with yellow dye 5, it is banned in Norway and Finland

9. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone

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Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) is a growth hormone injected into cows in certain countries to increase production of milk. It’s a manmade substitute for a natural bovine growth hormone, somatatropin, formed by the pituitary glands. Currently up to 1 in 6 cows in America have been injected with this synthetic hormone. However, the consumption and export of dairy products containing the hormone has been banned by the European Union, Canada, and Israel, among others. RBGH has been known to produce inflammation in cows, and the American Cancer Society maintains that the use of antibiotics to treat this inflammation is promoting the development of bacteria that are immune to antibiotics.