Excerpted from a story on updatednews.ca:
“Just because it’s edible doesn’t mean it’s legal. There are some foods that federal and state governments ban or severely restrict because of health concerns, to preserve a species, or even in response to inhumane preparation methods. Check out some dishes and ingredients currently banned in the U.S., plus some recently made legal.
Banned: Twenty-one states ban the sale of raw milk. Some states permit sale in stores, while others only allow sale direct from farms in small quantities.
Reason: Unpasteurized, or “raw,” milk was a household staple in U.S. homes before late-19th-century implementation of pasteurization techniques intended to make milk safer. Laws banning raw milk are meant to protect consumers from harmful bacteria, but proponents of raw milk argue that current standards in farm sanitation make the unpasteurized liquid safe to drink.
Banned: Importation of the raw fruit is banned in the U.S.
Reason: This pear-shaped fruit — the national fruit of Jamaica — contains edible flesh, but inedible black seeds. Those seeds contain toxins that can suppress the body’s ability to release an extra supply of glucose, plunging one’s blood sugar level and potentially leading to death.
Controlled: Once banned in the U.S.; today imports must be irradiated.
Reason: The purple mangosteen, a coveted fruit in Thailand, was once banned in the U.S. because officials feared importing the fruit would introduce the Asian fruit fly into the U.S. The ban was lifted in 2007, but imported mangosteen must first be irradiated to rid it of the fruit flies.
Banned: In the 1960s, the FDA banned the use of sassafras oil, mostly composed of safrole, in foods and additives.
Reason: Sassafras oil — extracted from the dried root bark of the sassafras tree — was once a popular ingredient in tea and root beer. But after scientific evidence deemed safrole a potential carcinogen, the FDA implemented its ban, which is still in place today. (Root extracts that don’t contain safrole are allowed.)..”