A California lawsuit recently put Mars, Inc. in the hot seat, claiming one of its candies contained toxins that are unsafe to eat.
The class action suit filed earlier this month accuses the candy manufacturer of including “heightened levels” of titanium dioxide, or TiO2, in its Skittles candy. The petitioner pointed to the European Union phasing out the use of titanium dioxide with a full ban going into place next month; however, Skittles aren’t the only popular American food containing ingredients banned or limited in other countries.
Here are just a few American snacks you won’t find in other countries:
Mountain Dew & Fresca
Americans who “do the Dew” might be surprised to learn the product contains brominated vegetable oil. BVO is banned in Japan and the European Union because it contains bromine, the element found in brominated flame retardants, which can build up in the body and potentially lead to memory loss as well as skin and nerve problems. The grapefruit-flavored soda, Fresca, also contains the ingredient.
Little Debbie Swiss Rolls
Products in the European Union containing Yellow 5 and Red 40 carry warnings that they cause adverse effects in children, but you won’t find that warning on a box of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls in the US. Norway and Austria have banned the snack cakes outright.
Several Breakfast Cereals
Popular breakfast cereals including Frosted Flakes, Honey Bunches of Oats, and Rice Krispies contain BHT. Used as a flavor enhancer, BHT has long been studied for its potential carcinogenic properties. While the evidence is inconclusive, BHT is banned in Japan and the European Union. Other cereals, such as Lucky Charms, use Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40, despite being known to cause itching and hives for some.
Stove Top stuffing
Kraft Stove Top stuffing might make weeknight dinners easier, but it also contains the same BHT found in American breakfast cereals, as well as BHA, which at high doses, causes cancer in rats, mice and hamsters. Both preservatives are banned in the United Kingdom, Japan and several European countries.
Ritz Crackers & Coffee-mate
Trans fats were officially banned in the U.S. in 2018; however, some trans fats such as partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils can still be found in popular products such as Ritz Crackers and Coffee-mate creamers. These ingredients are also banned in Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Iceland, Norway and Denmark.
Drumstick frozen desserts
Drumstick uses carrageenan, derived from seaweed, for texture in its ice cream. Carrageenan can affect the human digestive system which has led to its limited use in the European Union.