Only recently did I learn that Kinder Surprise eggs are banned in the United States of America, under the 1938 Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics Act, for containing a toy inside a confection. Entering the country with illegal Kinder Surprise eggs will make the adult responsible liable for a fine of $1,200 per egg!
Ok, I understand why fugu and beluga caviar are banned (the former to prevent diners from being poisoned, the latter to prevent overfishing). But less so casu marzu (because this cheese contains live maggots), horse meat (to save money on inspecting the meat and slaughterhouses), haggis (because it contains sheep lung – I don’t know, to prevent you from being infected with tuberculosis?), and even Mirabelle plums from Lorraine (due to import laws). And no, an American (and ex-vegetarian) friend of mine didn’t know about or understand the haggis ban either.
So the Kinder egg ban came as a shock to me, who was nurtured on Kinder eggs in Hong Kong, and once thought that – like so much confectionary in Hong Kong – Kinder was an American brand. I bought an egg to see how easy it was to accidentally eat the toy, only to find that the two halves of the chocolate shell separated no sooner than I had held the egg in my palm, revealing the capsule that held the toy not long after I had unwrapped the egg. Nonetheless, Kinder Surprise is still banned in the USA, so one has to think of clever ways to make chocolate eggs contain toys in a legal way.
This is in a country where a two-year old can get his hands (fatally) on firearms, and where consuming snus, which even hardy Russia thought about banning in 2013-14, is legal, albeit with a lower bioavailability of nicotine. I am unfairly mentioning the snus, I suppose, because it is less carcinogenic (but still carcinogenic nonetheless!) than smoking, but in actual fact, snus is an imported (and too greatly altered, argue the Swedes, but that’s another story) product from Sweden, and Americans prefer the more carcinogenic dipping tobacco.
Food-wise, this is in a country which consumes more lutefisk than the Scandinavians, from whom this lye-fish originated, and lutefisk is caustic if not treated properly (so surely just as ‘dangerous’ as sheep lung). There are also a lot of foodstuffs Americans consume that are banned in Europe and even China, for what seem to me to be better reasons. I mean, if you would just look at the pink slime…