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’s a list of surprising laws that covers everything ranging from crushing beer cans to ordering pizza.
To write this list, we expanded on our previous lists of strange food and drink laws around 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. In La Paz, Bolivia, married women are only allowed one glass of wine in public, and driving while intoxicated can land you a death sentence in El Salvador.
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. We’ve rounded up 21 of the world’s weirdest food and drink laws for you to peruse.
Reporting by Hayden Field, Alexandra E. Petri, and Nikkitha Bakshani.