7 Foods Banned in Europe Still Available in the U.S.

By Christine Lepisto, TreeHugger

Genetically Modified Foods

Although the E.U. is continuously coming under attack for policies banning GM foods, the community is highly suspicious of genetically modified foods, and the agro-industrial pressures that drive their use. The problem with GM foods is that there is simply not sufficient research and understanding to inform good public policy. In spite of widespread GM use without apparent negative impacts in other countries, the recent public reaction to trans-fats are reason enough to support a precautionary principle for the food supply chain.

Pesticides in Your Food

The E.U. has acted against the worst pesticides typically found as residuals in the food chain. A ban on 22 pesticides was passed at the E.U. level, and is pending approval by the Member States. Critics claim the ban will raise prices and may harm malaria control, but advocates of the ban say action must be taken against the pesticides which are known to cause harm to health and nevertheless consistently found in studies of food consumption.

Bovine Growth Hormone

This drug, known as rBGH for short, is not allowed in Europe. In contrast, U.S. citizens struggle even for laws that allow hormone-free labeling so that consumers have a choice. This should be an easy black-and-white decision for all regulators and any corporation that is really concerned about sustainability: give consumers the information. We deserve control over our food choice.

Chlorinated Chickens

Amid cries that eating American chickens would degrade European citizens to the status of guinea pigs, the E.U. continued a ban on chickens washed in chlorine. The ban effectively prevents all import of chickens from the U.S. into Europe. If chicken chlorination is “totally absurd” and “outrageous” for Europeans, what does that mean for Americans?



Food Contact Chemicals

Phthalates and Bisphenols in plastic are really beneficial. They help manufacturers create plastic products with the softness and moldability needed to fulfill consumer needs. But when the food contact additives are found in the food and liquids contained by those plastics, trouble starts. Both the U.S. and Europe stringently regulate food contact use of chemicals. However, the standard of approval is different. In Europe, the precautionary principle requires that the suppliers of chemicals prove their additives safe, or they will be banned. Of course, although the E.U. has banned phthalates in toys, both phthalates and bisphenol-A remain approved for food contact uses — subject to strict regulations on their use.

Stevia, the natural sweetener

The U.S. recently approved this “natural” sweetener as a food additive. Previously, it was sold in the U.S. under the less stringent dietary supplement laws. It has been embraced in Japan for over three decades, but E.U. bans still stand — pointing to potential disturbances in fertility and other negative health impacts. But the sweetener is credited with potentially positive health effects too. Is this a case where consumer choice should prevail?

Planned Ban: Food Dyes

Many food dyes previously recognized as safe are suspected of contributing to attention deficit disorder. Action is afoot as the UK evaluates a ban on synthetic food colors. Regulation in the E.U. often starts through the leadership of one Member State, which pushes the concepts up to Brussels after a proof-of-concept pilot phase. Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, and Red 3 are among the food colors associated with hyperactivity.

371 comments

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers3 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Sally S.
Sally S.3 years ago

Stevia is now freely available in the UK so I suspect the ruling has been changed.

Bella M.
Bella M.3 years ago

Ban Monsanto and all the toxic frankenfoods available! Thanks for article!

Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege3 years ago

Ban Monsanto, full stop.

Monica May
Monica May3 years ago

Ban Monsanto

Shanti S.
S S.3 years ago

Thank you.

Jaycee B.
Jaycee B.4 years ago

Come on America, we can follow in Europe's footsteps! Ban these horrible items!

Fran Baca
Fran B.4 years ago

The US needs to be more responsible when it comes to the food health of their citizens.

Suze O.
Suze Q.4 years ago

Every single item on this list we in the US could do without..........not necessary in our lives...

Taina B.
Taina B.4 years ago

Im a happy European :))