Curbing your hunger while you’re travelling is something we’re all oddly concerned about. Whether we’re heading Stateside for a two-week holiday in the sun, or popping across the channel for a day on the Continent, it always feels like we need to pack a three-course meal to keep hunger at bay during our journeys.
Next time you’re packing for your mid-trip journey, however, you may want to think a little more closely about just what food you’re taking with you. As seen below, other countries aren’t quite so keen on our English delicacies. In fact, your favourite snack could even get you a huge fine – or worse, a spell in jail!
1. Kinder Eggs
The humble Kinder Egg: could you find a chocolate more symbolic of your childhood? (Although, tbh, they’re still our choice of snack now at the age of ‘probably-should-plump-for-that-banana-instead-but-hey-it’s-Friday.)
Kinder Eggs are the ultimate snack – creamy, milky chocolate that tastes oh-so-good, but which also tries to prolong the enjoyment by leaving you with a small toy inside. It’s this plastic source of amusement, however, that the US don’t take too kindly too. A 1938 federal law bans toys (or, indeed, any non-edible objects) to be enclosed within food products, which means our US friends will forever be in the dark as to how incredible it feels to unwrap a mini plastic troll or toy car. It doesn’t stop them trying though; U.S. customs seize tens of thousands of Kinder eggs each year!
They say you either love it or hate it – and it’s fair to say that Denmark really, really despises Marmite. It’s all down to the fact that the yeast extract is at odds with a 2004 law which restricts food products that are fortified with vitamins. To be fair, this is a law that’s probably got half of the Danish people on its side.
To be clear: Denmark hasn’t technically banned Marmite. It’s just that the addition of vitamins, minerals and other substances must be approved by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration before the product is allowed to be marketed in Denmark. Because this Administration hasn’t received an application for Marmite, that’s why you’re unlikely to find any legit jars on the Danish shelves.
I know it’s tempting to pack some haggis in your suitcase when you head off to the US but please, I beg you, don’t. The US don’t take too kindly to the fact haggis contains sheep lung, which apparently violates federal food safety regulations. Scotland, bless them, have made attempts to get the US to change its mind, but they’re not having it.
This is probably an issue more for the millionaires amongst you, but it’s still worth listening up just in case you win the lottery next week. Beluga caviar is made from the eggs of the Beluga sturgeon, a critically endangered fish that’s only found in the Caspian Sea, the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea. As a result of countries failing to prevent their poaching (apart from Iran), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has banned the food being sold in many countries across the world.
I’m not sure I could do without my weekly dose of samosas, but if I ever go to Somalia, I’m going to have to. The harmless triangular food was banned in 2011 after the country’s al-Shabaab group considered them ‘offensive’ and ‘too Christian’. And they’re certainly serious about the ban, after sending militants out on trucks to announce the ban across the land via loudspeakers…
6. McCain Brand French Fries
Think these fries look fairly innocuous? Think again. Certain varieties of McCain brand french fries contain a chemical known as azodicarbonamide, which has been known to induce asthma. Unsurprisingly, the chemical has been banned in various countries, including Australia and the U.K – but it’s in Singapore that it can get you into a heck of a lot of trouble. Use it as a food ingredient over there, and you could face a $500,000 fine plus up to 15 years in prison!
7. Foie gras
Foie gras may be considered a luxurious delicacy like no other, but that hasn’t stopped it from nabbing its fair share of bad press. Foie gras is a specially fattened duck or goose liver, which is usually obtained by force feeding the animals. Many governments have declared this to be animal cruelty, banning the dish in the process. So, hop over to Israel, parts of the U.S. or India, and chances are that foie gras will be off the menu.
8. Chewing Gum
Chewing gum may be all over the streets (literally) in the UK, but pop some in your mouth in Singapore and you could guarantee yourself an appointment with the law. Ultra-clean Singapore has banned chewing gum for all the mess that it causes when vandals stick them all over the place. They’re so serious about this law, that to get your hands on chewing gum involves having to fetch a prescription from a doctor!
9. Tomato Ketchup
God bless the French. They’re so passionate about good cuisine that they’ve apparently banned tomato ketchup from public school cafeterias. Their reasoning behind this (slightly bizarre) ban is because they consider the gooey, tomatoey sauce to ‘mask’ the taste of the food. To be fair, my school dinners really did require the help of some ketchup to get it down me, so I can see what they mean. For the sake of the French schoolchildren, however, I sincerely hope their lunches are Michelin-star level.
10. Red Bull
It may well be Britain’s best selling energy drink, but that didn’t stop France banning Red Bull for 12 years as a result of its high level of the chemical taurine. Luckily, the French were still able to get by on a slightly altered Red Bull recipe which replaced taurine with caffeine. However, in 2008 France was forced to legalize the drink’s original recipe because EU regulations stated that a product either made or sold in other EU countries cannot be banned unless a health risk is proven. After a dozen years, the French wiped the sleep residue from their eyes and got back to important matters. Like banning ketchup.