Items You'll Never Find in American Stores

Products you you will never find in American stores

On the shelves of large American stores and supermarkets, it is not difficult to find any exotic from almost all over the world, but there are things and products that cannot be bought in the USA – as a rule, due to legislative prohibitions, sometimes quite unexpected.

Food, drinks and other goods inaccessible to the American consumer are on the “Subtleties” list. We counted six positions, but there are probably more.

1. Kinder Surprise

Selling a seemingly harmless chocolate egg with a toy inside was banned in the United States back in 1938: according to the then adopted law, inedible objects cannot be placed inside edible ones so that children do not accidentally swallow small parts or choke on them. It is believed that the figures inside the “kinder” are too small, and therefore are dangerous for babies under 3 years old. The manufacturing company found a way out: it developed Kinder Joy specifically for the American market – a plastic egg divided into two halves: one contains chocolate, the other contains a toy. No trouble with the law: now an edible item inside an inedible one.

2. Old children's books

Another category of children's products that fell under the ban are books published before 1985: before that time, lead pigments were used in inks and paints, and American congressmen decided that this could harm the health of the younger generation. A law passed in 2008 imposed stringent restrictions on the lead content of any product intended for children under 12, and book and thrift store owners had to remove banned publications from their shelves. Selling such books is not allowed even on eBay and garage sales.

3. Horsemeat

Eating horse meat in America has not been customary since colonization: both Europeans and indigenous people believed that a live horse could bring much more benefit to a person than its meat. In the 20th century, horse meat was shipped to European and Asian countries or sold as canned dog food. In the past 30 years, most states have passed laws prohibiting the sale and consumption of such meat. In 2017, a restaurant in Pennsylvania included horse tartare on the menu and was the center of a scandal followed by inspections and warnings. Now horsemeat is mainly fed to animals in circuses and zoos, and it is also exported to other countries.

Eating horse meat in America has not been customary since colonization: both Europeans and indigenous people believed that a live horse could bring a lot more benefits to a person than its meat.

4. Vegemite

In American supermarkets, it is almost impossible to buy not only herring or kvass, which are familiar to us, but also the favorite product of Australians – vegemite. It is a thick and very salty paste made from the remains of beer wort and tastes like meat broth. In Australia, it is spread on toast or used as a filling in traditional buns. But in the US, the product is banned due to the high content of folic acid: in large quantities, it harms the immune system, and in the States it is allowed to add it only to bread and cereals.

5. Energy drinks with alcohol

In 2010, cocktails containing both alcohol and caffeine disappeared from the assortment of American stores, for example, the most popular energy drink in the United States, Four Loko. Doctors consider its composition to be an explosive mixture: ethyl alcohol combined with huge doses of caffeine (2-7 times more than in Coca-Cola) leads to severe dehydration, and other stimulant additives can mask the effect of alcohol. As a result, a person does not feel intoxicated and creates dangerous situations. According to one of the students, after three cans of such a cocktail, his motor reflexes failed and he stopped talking.

What else to read on the topic

  • Why Americans do not take off their shoes at home: 4 reasons, 3 exceptions and 2 reservations
  • How is our wedding different from the American one?
  • Why Americans don't put fences in front of their houses: 3 simple reasons

6. Cuban cigars

The ban on the sale of Cuban cigars is part of the US trade embargo against Cuba. The purpose of these restrictions is to reduce the influx of cash that goes to support the communist regime. From time to time, sanctions are relaxed, and Americans are allowed to import a small amount of cigars from Liberty Island, but now there is a strict ban: US citizens are forbidden to buy and smoke Cuban cigars not only in their own country, but in general anywhere. Violators face huge fines or imprisonment. A historical anecdote is told about this: before banning trade with Cuba, Kennedy allegedly instructed his assistant to purchase at least a thousand Havana cigars, which he greatly appreciated.

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