Gone From the Shelves: Why 18 American Staples Vanished

Over the years, various foods that were once staples in American kitchens have been banned or are no longer allowed to be sold due to health, environmental, or ethical reasons. Here’s a list of 18 such items, detailing why they’ve been pulled off the market. Do you remember any of these?

1. Trans Fats

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Partially hydrogenated oils, commonly known as trans fats, were once a common ingredient in baked goods and fried foods. Banned by the FDA in 2018, trans fats are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

2. Kinder Surprise Eggs

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These popular chocolate eggs contain a non-edible toy inside, which led the FDA to ban them in the U.S. due to a potential choking hazard.

3. Shark Fins

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Shark finning is a brutal practice that involves removing the fins from sharks and discarding the rest of the animal. It’s now banned in 12 U.S. states to protect shark populations and prevent cruelty.

4. Horse Meat

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While not specifically banned, the slaughter of horses for meat is effectively illegal in the U.S. due to a lack of funding for required inspections of the meat.

5. Ortolan

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This small French bird was once considered a delicacy, consumed whole after being drowned in brandy. It’s now banned due to ethical concerns and the bird’s endangered status.

6. Sassafras Oil

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Formerly used in teas and the original root beer, sassafras oil contains safrole, which the FDA banned for consumption due to its carcinogenic properties.

7. Absinthe

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Traditionally made with thujone, a chemical compound found in several toxic plants, absinthe was banned in the U.S. in 1912. It’s been legal since 2007, but only when thujone-free.

8. Quaaludes

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Originally used as sleeping pills, Quaaludes became popular for their high. The U.S. banned them in 1984 due to high potential for addiction and abuse.

9. Cyclamate

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This artificial sweetener was banned in the U.S. in 1969 due to suspicions of it being a carcinogen, though it remains available in some other countries.

10. Fugu (Japanese Blowfish)

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Fugu can be deadly if not properly prepared due to its tetrodotoxin content. In the U.S., only a few licensed chefs can legally prepare and sell this dish.

11. Ackee Fruit

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Unripe ackee fruit contains toxins that can cause severe sickness, and as such, the FDA bans all but the perfectly ripened fruit from import.

12. Brominated Vegetable Oil

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Used in some sodas and sports drinks, it’s banned in foods due to health concerns, including links to organ damage and other serious health effects.

13. Red Dye No. 3

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After studies in the early ’90s suggested that high doses could cause cancer in animals, the FDA banned this food dye from cosmetics and externally applied drugs but not from food.

14. Bha and Bht

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These preservatives are banned in infant foods in the U.S. due to possible cancer risks and are completely banned in some countries.

15. Olestra

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Olestra, a fat substitute used in snacks, was notorious for causing digestive issues and was subsequently banned in Canada and the European Union. Its use has declined significantly in the U.S.

16. Pig’s Blood Cake

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Popular in Taiwan, this snack made from pig’s blood and rice is banned in the U.S. due to sanitary concerns.

17. Beluga Caviar

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Importation of this caviar to the U.S. has been banned since 2005 due to the near extinction of the beluga sturgeon.

18. Casu Marzu

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This Sardinian cheese is famous for containing live insect larvae. It’s banned in the U.S. due to obvious health concerns.


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These foods illustrate the ongoing evolution of dietary laws and regulations, reflecting changes in societal values, scientific understanding, and concern for public health and ethics.

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The post Gone from the Shelves: Why 18 American Staples Vanished first appeared on Peachy Fours.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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