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8 Globally Banned Foods and Ingredients You Can Still Find on U.S. Grocery Shelves


The U.S. lags behind Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan in banning foods and components of foods that are harmful to health. Because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is slow to remove such items from the market, many Americans aren’t aware that some of the products they consume regularly may have toxic effects.

Here are some items that governments in other parts of the world have prohibited but continue to be available in our supermarkets.

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1. Farmed Salmon

Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients that are very important for wellness; however avoid the farmed variety for several reasons. Farm-raised salmon is often raised in an irresponsible manner, which results in the fish containing a toxic cocktail of harmful chemicals. These include alarming levels of cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as well as methylmercury and dioxins. In addition, the fish are fed GMOs, and they are given chemicals to simulate the pink color found naturally in wild salmon.

When shopping, look for Alaskan salmon and Sockeye salmon, two varieties that aren’t allowed to be farmed. And for a delectable salmon recipe, check out this simply delicious BBQ salmon recipe for a fresh take on preparing the fish.

2. Soft Drink Chemical BVO

The bright coloring of soft drinks like Mountain Dew and Orange Soda look appealing, but these unnatural hues indicate the beverages are highly toxic. These sodas can hold their alluring colors because of an ingredient called brominated vegetable oil (BVO), which contains bromine, a flame retardant chemical that can damage the nervous and endocrine systems. While the FDA originally classified BVO as “generally recognized as safe,” the agency later reversed this decision. Nonetheless, it’s currently in use as a food additive.

3. Partially Hydrogenated Oils

Known as PHOs, these chemicals are found in products such as frozen pizza, frostings and candies. Manufacturers put them in foods to prolong shelf life, but this benefit comes with a downside. PHOs contain trans-fat, which raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, and lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good, cholesterol — effects that result in an increased heart attack and stroke risk. The additive will be banned in June of 2018, but until then, avoid products with it listed in the label.

4. Growth Hormones

Since 1993, synthetic growth hormones rBGH and rBST have been given to cows to increase milk production. rBGH acts on the human pituitary gland and produces harmful endocrine and metabolic effects: reports Dr. Joseph Mercola. Despite these safety concerns, the government doesn’t mandate that the ingredients be listed on product labels. Consumers can protect themselves by purchasing organic milk, which is rBGH-free

5. Chicken with Arsenic

Some chicken contains arsenic, a chemical that promotes growth and imparts the appearance of pink, fresh meat. It’s also used to fight an intestinal disease called coccidiosis. According to the American Chemical Society, arsenic is linked to several types of cancer, and low-level exposure can cause diabetes and partial paralysis. Although some food suppliers have stopped using the chemical, an arsenic-laced diet is still fed to 70 percent of chickens raised in the U.S. Purchasing organic chicken is a way to avoid consumption.

6. Meat Containing Ractopamine

Banned by 160 countries, ractopamine is fed to approximately 60 to 80 percent of pigs in the U.S. The drug is a beta-agonist, an agent that makes the animal more muscular. Research shows it’s associated with many adverse effects in pigs, the most common of which is death. To steer clear of it, buy organically raised, grass-fed or pastured meats.

7. Azodicarbonamide (ADA)

Used in the manufacture of yoga mats, ADA is added to cereal and commercially baked bread as a dough conditioner and whitening agent. The chemical is a potential carcinogen, but it’s FDA approved. While some chain restaurants have phased it out of their menus, it continues to be present in others, as well as in many U.S. grocery stores.

8. Olestra

Also called Olean, olestra is a fat-free ingredient found in diet versions of chips, frozen yogurt and other foods. It was approved by the FDA 22 years ago, but researchers later found it curtails the body’s absorption of essential vitamins. The additive also hinders normal digestion, resulting in bloating and cramps. Even though Olestra contains no calories, a study discovered it promotes weight gain rather than weight loss.

Aside from opting for organic products, all of the above ingredients can be avoided by shunning processed foods and opting for a plant-based diet.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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