16 Odd Food and Drink Laws From Around the World

How many of these gustatory prohibitions have you accidentally violated?

Durians are so smelly they are illegal to have in some places. (Photo Modified: Flickr / Kazue Asano)

Saparmurat Niyazov, once the dictator of Turkmenistan, was known for enacting laws based on his whims, such as demanding that the word for “bread” be changed to “Gurbansoltan,” the name of his late mother. Niyazov died in 2006, but his bread law is far from the only odd food- or drink-related statute to be passed. Here are 17 food and drink laws from around the world that will certainly make you raise an eyebrow or two.

17 Odd Food and Drink Laws from Around the World (Slideshow)

To write this list, we expanded on our previous list of Wacky and Weird Food and Drink Laws Around the World, which includes the law stating that you cannot chew gum in Singapore without a prescription — and as for gum in Thailand, litter at your own risk. The Internet is full of fun factoids, so we chose a few that we found some evidence for, either in official government documents or other publications.

You might be surprised to find that many of these wacky laws are not far from home. For example, in Wisconsin, they respect the quality of butter so much that the use of margarine is regulated and often discriminated against. In other words, expect a dirty look from a waiter if you ask for fake butter at a restaurant in the Badger State.

While many of these laws are ones enacted a few hundred years ago that have yet to be amended, others are results of the practices of our modern world. See the gum laws indicated above, and read more about them by clicking through our slideshow.

Additional reporting by Nikkitha Bakshani.

Be Careful of How You Crush Your Beer Cans in Australia

Photo Modified: Flickr / Joe Loong

Next time you’re out in Western Australia, remember that crushing a can of beer between your breasts, should you wish to do so, can land you in jail. No, this isn’t a joke. A bartender (or barmaid, as they say in Australia) was arrested, tried, and fined for flaunting her crushing talent.

Beer and Seek

Photo Modified: Flickr / Andrew Moore


Nigeria has a law that makes imported beer illegal. So does that mean it’s illegal to drink in Nigeria? Not exactly. It’s OK to purchase and drink local beer if you can find it, as long as you’re 21. This is not the case in some religious Northern states, where alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited, yet secret drinking dens thrive.