Banned Bites: The Illegal Foods Quiz


By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

That crazy cuisine may taste great, but is it legal? Take our quiz to see if you can distinguish between legal foods and those that are banned due to safety, scarcity or just plain politics.

What's inside a Kinder Surprise egg?

The Kinder Surprise is banned in the U.S. because it contains a small toy that often requires assembly and may pose a choking hazard for young children.


True or false: The Kinder Surprise egg ban in the U.S. is rarely enforced for tourists.

In fiscal year 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol seized more than 60,000 Kinder Surprise eggs from the bags and mail of candy-loving tourists.


What country's national fruit is the ackee?

Imports of the ackee, Jamaica's national fruit and part of the country's most popular national dish, are carefully controlled in the U.S.


What year did the U.S. loosen a total ackee ban to allow some of these fruit to enter the country?

In 2000, the U.S. slightly eased restrictions against ackee fruit imports.


True or false: Eating ackee can be deadly.

Unripe ackee is poisonous throughout and can cause illness or even death. Once the fruit ripens, only the seeds and rinds pose a danger.


What makes casu marzu cheese unique?

Casu marzu is a special cheese made using live maggots. And yes, the maggots are still on the cheese when it's ready to eat.


Where does casu marzu hail from?

Casu marzu is a delicacy in Sardinia, a region in Italy. It's illegal in both Italy and the U.S.


What is foie gras made of?

Foie gras is the fatty liver of a goose or duck. It can only be made by grossly overfeeding the animal.


True or false: Foie gras is illegal to sell in most U.S. states.

While some argue that foie gras production violates animal rights, it is not illegal to sell or consume. California attempted a ban in 2012, but it was overturned in 2015.


True or false: It is totally legal to consume horse meat in the U.S.

In 2011, Congress elected against extending a bill which effectively banned horse meat production and consumption.


True or false: Cooking pufferfish eliminates dangerous toxins.

Cooking or freezing pufferfish does nothing to neutralize the dangerous toxins in the fish. Nothing can remove these toxins other than having an expert chef properly prepare the fish prior to consumption.


True or false: All pufferfish are deadly.

While the majority of pufferfish are deadly, those caught in the mid-Atlantic are safe to consume. All Japanese imports are potentially deadly and come through a single supplier approved by the U.S. government.


What is an ortolan?

The ortolan is a tiny French bird eaten whole. It's illegal to sell or consume in both the U.S. and France.


What accessory do diners need while eating an ortolan?

Diners traditionally cover their heads while consuming ortolan. The napkin increases salivation, captures the fragrance of the dish and provides privacy so that the diner can maintain his dignity.


What is the red drum?

The red drum, or redfish, became so popular thanks to Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme in the 1980s that it almost went extinct.


True or false: It's illegal to eat a swan in the U.S.

In the U.S., trumpet and mute swans are both endangered and cannot be consumed. In the U.K., all swans belong to the royal family and are banned for hunting and consumption by all nonroyals.


What year was Scottish haggis banned in the U.S.?

Traditional Scottish haggis has been banned in the U.S. since 1971. Sorry Scots.


What ingredient caused haggis to earn it's U.S. ban?

The USDA classifies sheep lung as unfit for human consumption. Since sheep lung is traditionally used in Scottish haggis, the dish is banned in the U.S. in its classic form.


What percent of Americans consume raw milk at least once a week?

Around 3 percent of Americans consume raw, or unpasteurized, milk at least once a week, exposing themselves to potential illnesses.


True or false: The sale and consumption of raw milk is banned by the federal government in the U.S.

The federal government prohibits shipping raw milk across state lines to sell, but rules about in-state sales and consumption are determined by the state. About half of all U.S. states ban raw milk sales.


How many sharks die each year due to finning?

A staggering 73 million sharks die each year due to finning, when the animal's fin is removed and the still-living shark is dumped back into the ocean to die.


True or false: It's illegal to sell shark fin soup in the U.S.

In 2016, Congress introduced a bill to ban the trade of shark fins in the U.S., but for now, it's perfectly legal to consume shark fin soup.


What year was absinthe legalized in the U.S.?

Absinthe, which was banned since Prohibition, was legalized in the U.S. in 2007. This alcoholic concoction consists of spirits infused with herbs and botanicals.


True or false: The wormwood in absinthe causes hallucinations.

While many once blamed the wormwood in absinthe for causing hallucinations, many scientists now believe the hallucinations come from absinthe's extremely high alcohol content.


Where does the fruit mangosteen come from?

The delicious mangosteen hails from Thailand and was banned in the U.S. until 2007 because the fruit often harbored dangerous insects.


How much did Proctor & Gamble spend to develop the fat substitute olestra?

Despite $1 billion in investment and research, both Canada and the U.K. banned olestra due to harmful side effects. While it's still legal in the U.S., it's only used in a handful of products.


What country does the Mirabelle plum come from?

The yellow Mirabelle plum grows only in Lorraine, France. Thanks to import laws, the fruit is illegal to bring into the U.S.


What year were beluga caviar imports banned in the U.S.?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency banned beluga caviar imports to the U.S. in 2005. The ban was upheld over the next decade, even as the United Nations and other countries relaxed beluga sales and imports.


True or false: You can eat a sea turtle but only if you kill it yourself.

Sea turtles are endangered species and are illegal to kill, consume or import to the U.S.


True or false: Margarine is illegal in Wisconsin.

While the dairy-loving state of Wisconsin has restricted margarine sales in the past, the butter substitute is perfectly legal to buy, sell and consume.


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