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Food Bans in the UK Versus Band in the US

Monday, April 22, 2013

Courtney Eaton
Monday, April 22, 2013


The United States has a long list of food bans due to negative health outcomes of certain foods and ingredients. The United Kingdom has banned some foods and ingredients but it is not nearly as easy to research as foods banned in the US. This could be a result of the fewer restrictions placed on foods in the UK or perhaps less resources announcing these food bans. The difficulty I had researching this topic could also have to do with my lack of knowledge of British “food regulators” (for lack of a better term). In any case, through the culmination of facts I’ve learned throughout my stay here in London, previous knowledge and a couple of websites, this article will hopefully raise some eyebrows or spark some other thoughts about the bans in the US versus the bans in the UK.

Horsemeat: The first “rumor” I heard here in London was that often times their beef was mixed with horse meat. Immediately I told the person that this was probably illegal and therefore untrue, because it is illegal in the United States. After doing some research I found that this “rumor” is in fact quite true. Sometimes it is not beef at all but completely horse meat. Slaughtering horses for meat is completely legal and quite normal here in England. They often do not differentiate between the two... make of that what you will.

Unpasteurized milk: The sale of unpasteurized milk is not permitted in some parts of the United States due to the risk of disease or illness. It is legal in the UK, however. It is possible that the UK does not use as many antibiotics and may allow their cows to live in better conditions, therefore exposing them to fewer toxins that can harm humans. This is merely a theory, however.

Konjac: Though quite an obscure ingredient to ban, this thickener used mainly in jelly candies has been outlawed due to a choking hazard. This could be why their gummy bears taste different!

Absinthe: The sale of this spirit is illegal in the United States due to the high alcoholic content and alleged hallucinogenic effects it has on its consumers. It is also illegal in many parts of Europe however the UK keeps it on the shelves with pride.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): HFCS is not banned in the UK; however they call it Fructose syrup. It is used much less than in the United States. The average individual in the US may consume up to 25 kilograms of HFCS a day per year, whereas in the UK the average individual may only consume around .5 kilograms a day per year. As a side note, this difference and the difference in the amount of overweight individuals in each country would make for an interesting study. For more information on HFCS in the UK you can read this article

There are of course many other bans on ingredients and other foods in the UK, but these are the ones I have come across or heard about since my arrival in London.

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