Food laws are in place to keep us safe, but sometimes they can be a bit strange. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the weirdest food laws around the world. Laws that are funny, unexpected, or plain weird.
1. No oranges in the bathtub in Florida
A law established in the 20s that still exists today despite how odd it may sound. Apparently people believed that the citric acid will create an explosive thingy when mixed with the natural oils. As you might have guessed, this is not the case.
2. Ban on ketchup in French schools
In 2011 France banned ketchup in school cafeterias to preserve French culinary culture. Exception: when eating French fries, which sounds just about right.
3. Illegal to eat fried chicken with a fork in Gainesville, Georgia
Here it is illegal to eat fried chicken using any kind of utensils. The ordinance, adopted in 1961, was meant as a clever way to put Gainesville on the map as the best place to get your chicken.
4. No salmon fishing on Sundays in Scotland
An old English law, still in effect, prohibits salmon fishing on Sundays. This was believed to be in close relation to their religion so Sunday, the Christian Sabbath, was meant to be a day off.
5. Ban on chewing gum in Singapore
In an attempt to keep the streets clean, Singapore banned chewing gum in 1992. The law has been relaxed slightly over the years so tourists can bring in a pack or two of gum but you will be fined if you spit it out or stick it randomly on whatever you find around you.
6. Australia and its food bans
In order to preserve their local flora and fauna, the government instilled a ban on “fresh fruit and vegetables, meat products, rice, beans, eggs, and freshwater fish.” So if you’re about to visit the land Down Under, say no to taking any kind of snacks with you.
7. Ban on artificial ripening of fruits in India
To promote healthier food practices, India banned the use of calcium carbide for artificial ripening of fruits since it poses quite a few unwanted side effects.
8. Garlic is banned at Buckingham Palace
If we’re being honest, this makes sense. Who would want to explore a palace that reeks of baked garlic? Or worse, raw one?
9. Haggis import ban in the United States
Since 1971 the United States had a ban on importing haggis, a traditional Scottish dish made from sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, due to restrictions on sheep lung imports. You can still find lung-free haggis but that has nothing to do with the real deal.
10. A durian ban for all kinds of public transport in Singapore
The durian, infamous for its strong odor, is banned on many public transportation systems and even in taxis. If you buy it, you gotta carry it home by yourself. Or a bike might work.
11. In Japan, it is illegal to eat fugu (blowfish) unless the chef is licensed
An unlicensed chef is prohibited from going near fugu, which is a type of blowfish known for its potentially deadly poison. Containing tetrodotoxin, a potent neurotoxin that can be lethal in even small amounts if not properly removed during the preparation process, this makes for quite an exciting dish.
12. Dubai banned eating in public during Ramadan, during the day
No eating, drinking, or smoking otherwise you get a slap on the wrist and a hefty $544 fine. This applies to chewing gum as well, no no no.
13. In Poland it is illegal to sell alcohol on election day
This law was introduced as a measure to maintain order and prevent any disturbances that could arise from excessive alcohol consumption during various elections, including presidential, parliamentary, and local government elections. The restriction is in effect only on the day of the election.
Bonus Law: Neapolitan Pizza regulations
In an effort to preserve the traditional pizza-making methods, the city of Naples, Italy, passed a law in 2004 regulating the size and ingredients of pizzas that can be sold as “authentic Neapolitan pizzas.” And yes, Italians are still picky about serving your pizza with ketchup so just don’t.
The Spaghetti bolognese dish doesn’t exist
Virginio Merola, the mayor of Bologna, Italy, caused quite the commotion when he decided to start clarifying things up back in 2019. ”Spaghetti bolognese doesn’t actually exist, yet it’s famous the world over. […] What we’d prefer the world to know is that Bologna invented tagliatelle, tortellini, and lasagne.” What you will find in Italy is their Ragù alla Bolognese, a somewhat similar sauce but you won’t see it served with spaghetti but rather with tagliatelle.
Don’t believe everything you see and hear on the Internet freeway
Having a blog is easy peasy so some people decided to have fun and invent laws. For example, throwing Brussel Sprouts at tourists as long as you’re in Belgium. An urban myth or just a prank to see who is gullible enough to perpetuate it, this was featured even in some very influential media outlets. Say no to drugs and fake news, don’t share stuff on social media before doing a couple of minutes of research.
So, there you have it, a few of the weirdest food laws around the world. Whether it’s to protect public health, to preserve cultural traditions, or because it seemed a logical action at the time, these laws were fun to research.
Back to you now! Have you ever been fined for breaking a law you had no idea even existed in the first place? Share the goss, guys!
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