While some import bans make a whole lot of sense, like guns or dangerous weapons, other bans around the world can be somewhat bizarre. We’ve searched high and low across the globe to find some of the most unexpected, if not strangest rules for sending things abroad. From Borat’s super stylish mankini to fancy dress masks, here are some of our favourite illegal imports.


‘Dude’ where’s my Mountain Dew?

Mountain Dew
photo by Mike Mozart [CC BY 2.0], via flickr

The US version of Mountain Dew is banned in Europe and Japan. Mountain Dew and other citrus flavoured sodas in the US contain BVO or Brominated Vegetable Oil. Though BVO was first used as a flame retardant, it is added to 10% of American sodas. Overexposure to bromine can cause skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders. So, you better think twice before you send this drink abroad.


Musical cards

Musical Cards
By Sotakeit at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Musical cards, ya know those wonderful ones that play a tinny tune when they are opened, are banned from import in Saudi Arabia. Music classes are strictly controlled while malls and other stores do not play music to avoid offending religious customers. The country has also banned loud instruments like car horns as well. Frankly, we hate musical cards so no complaints there.


Chewing Gum

photo: Andreas Keck [CC BY-ND 2.0 DE] via fotocommunity.de
photo: Andreas Keck [CC BY-ND 2.0 DE] via fotocommunity.de

It’s a bit of a sticky subject, but the chewing of gum is strictly prohibited in Singapore since 1991. This means it cannot be sold or imported. Gum can be bought from a doctor with a prescription for therapeutic purposes only. And anyone caught for spitting gum faces a hefty fine. Chew on that.


Puffer Fish

Puffer Fish
photo: via Wikipedia.org

While puffer fish can be eaten at many restaurants worldwide, it is strictly banned in the EU. The puffer fish or fugu is eaten in Japan, but it contains toxic organs which can lead to asphyxiation or death. Remember that Simpsons’ episode when Homer eats in a Japanese restaurant to be told he only has 22 hours to live? While it is a fictitious plot, it highlights the dangers. It must be damn tasty for all that risk…


No Second Helpings of Haggis

photo by Tess Watson [CC BY 2.0], via flickr

Since 1971, haggis has been prohibited from import in the US. Sheep’s lungs, a key ingredient of haggis is banned by America’s food standards agency. Haggis is made of sheep’s liver, lungs, heart, oatmeal, onion and seasoning. While the US has finally lifted a ban on Scottish beef from the 1990s, Haggis is still prohibited.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here