Each and every country has its own legal framework and set of laws. Unique geographical, historical, and political environments play a big part in determining what governments decide is good or bad for society and how these differences come about. So what about America? What are the things the government has decided are illegal that other countries around the world have not? That’s what we’ll be looking at today, in this Episode of The Infographics Show: Regular Things That Are Illegal in the USA.
This is a famous Scottish dish that contains sheep’s guts, including, heart, liver, and lungs, which are minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, before stock is added. The rich mixture is traditionally encased in an animal’s stomach and slow cooked before eating. It’s an acquired taste, but not if you’re in America, where imports of traditional Scottish haggis have been banned since 1971.
The US Department of Agriculture or USDA, has long objected to one of the key ingredients in haggis, sheep’s lung. The reasoning behind their ban is generally couched in terms of food safety, specifically that fluids, such as stomach fluid, sometimes make their way into the lungs of an animal during the slaughtering process. It doesn’t sound too tasty, but with a lack of proper evidence to back up this ban, it looks like the law may soon be changing, according to a CNN report posted in 2016.
2. Hip-hop and Rap
If you’re a fan of rap or hip-hop, then Vegas may not be your place of choice. Concerts with this style of music have been banned for sometime. In 2005 the Vegas police informed casinos that they would be held responsible for any damages or violent crimes committed at rap concerts hosted by their venues. The casinos didn’t fight back; instead they cancelled gigs. And Vegas is also known for putting bans on other things that are legal elsewhere. These include bath salts, feeding the homeless, and following her 2010 arrest for cocaine possession, Paris Hilton herself was banned from both of Las Vegas’s Wynn Hotels by the owner, Steve Wynn.
3. Fishing and boating on private property
As crazy as this may sound, boating and fishing on certain waters in America, has been illegal since 2006. It all came about as the result of a legal case, Normal Parm vs Sheriff Mark Shumate, a case that happened after some Louisiana anglers were caught fishing on a flooded private property. U.S. District Court Judge Robert G. James ruled that landholders can file trespass charges against anglers who encroach on privately owned waterfront, to fish when the Mississippi River floods.
4. Selling Old Children’s Books
In 2008 US congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, imposing strict limits on the amount of lead permitted in any item intended for use by children aged 12 and under, such as toys, bikes or books. Well it turns out that some children’s books printed before 1985, may have been printed with ink that contains lead.
Lead was a really big thing back in the day, when we used to put it in everything like paint, toys, and other household items. But lead is dangerous and according to Walter Olson, an author and blogger who writes about legal subjects, anyone who tries to sell these old books may be in serious trouble. “Penalties can include $100,000 fines and prison time, regardless of whether any child is harmed.” Says Olson.
5. Rainwater harvesting
In many countries, collecting rainwater is the best way to enjoy uncontaminated water, but in some US states, notably Colorado, collecting rainwater is illegal. The law is an old Western water law from more than a century ago that is still enforced. Why was this law introduced?
The thinking behind this law is that if the raindrops are not collected by someone, then they might flow into the gutter, then into the ground, and eventually find their way to rivers and reservoirs where the government has a rightful claim. Legal experts say that this old law is incongruent with the way that people demand water in the 21st century. “It’s this very rigid, very old system of water rights that hasn’t really changed that much in over a century,” said Reed Benson, a law professor at the University of New Mexico, who was quoted in a 2015 Washington Post article.
6. No Singing After Dark In Hawaii
In Honolulu, Hawaii it is illegal to sing loudly after sunset. As soon as the sunsets, it is quiet time in this volcanic archipelago and considering Hawaii is one of the most vibrant summer holiday destinations in the world, if you like singing at night you may want to consider choosing another spot. In countries like Japan, karaoke is a favorite past time and loud singing can be heard in local bars and clubs throughout the night. So if you find yourself in Hawaii and wanting to break into song, check the clock before you do, as you maybe breaking law.
7. Holiday souvenirs
A lot of people like to bring back souvenirs from their holidays abroad, such as musical instruments, some clothing, or maybe a bottle of alcohol. But make sure you know exactly what U.S. Customs and Border Protection legally allows before you bring it back. Some of these souvenirs you want to take home might be on the banned list. Examples include Haitian animal-hide drums; meats, such as wild game, jerky, or even soup mix with chicken bouillon; and the strong spirit, Absinthe which can only be brought in if it is “thujone-free.” Thujone is a chemical component of wormwood and is thought to induce hallucinations.
8. Fresh Ackee Fruit
Ackee and saltfish is one of Jamaica’s traditional dishes and one you might have some difficulty making in the US. It’s made with the ackee fruit which is harvested from the ackee tree, native to West Africa, but also found in Central and South America, and many Caribbean countries including Jamaica, and southern Florida. The fruit is banned because it contains the toxin hypoglycin A, which is found in high levels in the rind and seeds. The substance causes something known as Jamaican Vomiting Sickness. And if that’s not enough to scare you off, you should know that the consumption of ackee can also lead to seizures, coma and even death. So if you really want to make this traditional dish, you’ll need to buy the canned ackee, which you can find in some specialty stores.
9. Weight loss products
Not all weight loss products are safe, and in June 1997, the Food and Drug Administration or FDA, proposed restrictions on the ephedrine content of dietary supplement. Ephedra is used for weight loss and obesity, and to enhance athletic performance, but it can also have serious side effects such as dizziness, restlessness, anxiety, irritability, heart pounding, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and even death. It was actually quite effective as a fat burner, but was banned as an ingredient in weight loss products. Ephedra can still be found in some other countries, but it’s probably better to be slightly overweight and alive, rather than skinny and dead.
10. Kinder eggs
One of the most famous products that is outlawed in the US are those tasty treats Kinder eggs. Incredibly, they’ve been outlawed since the 1930s because of an old act, which deems the chocolate egg violates both the CPSC and FDA regulations. The law outlines that any food with a ‘non-nutritive object embedded’ is strictly prohibited. More than 60,000 Kinder eggs were seized by US Customs and Border Protection in 2011. A spokesperson said, ‘While sold in many countries, this product is banned from the US because young children can choke on it. Kinder eggs are made by the same company that looks after Nutella, which Americans know all too well.
Well, that’s our list of 10! Do you know of other things that are normal everywhere else, but illegal in the US? Let us know in the comments. Also be sure to check out our other video, Regular Things That Are Illegal In North Korea. Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!