Wacky and Weird Food and Drink Laws Around the World

Don’t even think about being in possession of a cow while drunk in Scotland

No Ketchup for You

Photo Modified: Flickr / Wendy Harman CC BY 4.0

In October 2011, France banned the use of ketchup in its schools. It seems that authorities in France saw ketchup as a threat to all things French and a form of American cultural hegemony at its finest (or tastiest?). “We have to ensure that children become familiar with French recipes so that they can hand them down to the following generation,” said Christophe Hebert, chairman of the National Association of Directors of Collective Restaurants and the person behind the ban. 

Do as the Locals Do

Photo Modified: Flickr / Nick MCC BY 4.0

This one isn’t so much of a “wacky” law, but it is one that foreigners may be unprepared to abide by. In 2011, Dubai’s Foreign Office decreed that tourists holidaying in the UAE during Ramadan should be considerate of local laws and customs, which means no eating or drinking during the day. Tourists, therefore, face the risk of being thrown in jail for eating, drinking or smoking in public. 

Be Careful of How You Crush Your Beer Cans in Australia

Photo Modified: Flickr / AI E. CC BY-SA 4.0

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.

Beware the Brussels Sprouts


This is a bit worse than those childhood standoffs where we weren’t allowed leave the dinner table without finishing our Brussels sprouts. In Belgium, it is perfectly legal to throw Brussels sprouts at tourists — so don’t offend the locals unless you’re prepared to accept your just (albeit bitter) desserts. 

Swallow That Gum or Get a Fine.

Photo Modified: Flickr / Ganesha Balunsat CC BY 4.0

Did you know that chewing gum on Singapore’s MRT ( Mass Rapid Transit) could land you with a hefty fine? The sale and chewing of gum in Singapore has been illegal for more than 20 years, but in 2004 the law changed, and citizens can now be prescribed gum by a doctor.

Keeping Cows Safe

Photo Modified: Flickr / Smudge 9000CC BY 4.0

Scotland has made sure its legal priorities are as straight as a Scott’s vision after a night at the pub. Law in Scotland says that a drunken man cannot be in possession of a cow. How obvious is that one?

Snack Wisely in Italy

Photo Modified: Flickr / Chris YunkerCC BY-SA 4.0

Plan on enjoying some gelato in le piazze, or squares, around Florence on your next vacation? Well make sure you’re not breaking any laws in the process. It is against the law to eat and drink near public buildings and main churches. Better think twice before plopping down with a cone of stracciatella on those picturesque church steps.

Your Most Expensive Piece of Gum

Photo Modified: Flickr / Ganesha Balunsat CC BY 4.0

Littering is something we shouldn’t make a habit of, but every so often we are all guilty of spitting out our gum on the sidewalk. (It loses flavor, people!) Try doing that in Thailand, and you’ll be faced with a fine of $600 or more — and you can go to jail if you don’t pay it. Maybe Singapore has the right idea in banning it all together.

Don’t Feed the Birds

Photo Modified: Flickr / Summer Skyes 11 CC BY 4.0

Sitting on a bench, tossing bread crumbs to all the little birds that gather at your feet can be one of the great pleasures of city life. Try doing this in San Francisco, however, and you’re likely to get slapped with a fine. That’s right. It’s illegal to feed pigeons on the streets or sidewalks of the city. 

Beer and Seek


Nigeria passed a law that make importing beer illegal, but it is also illegal to brew beer in Nigeria. So does that mean it’s illegal to drink in Nigeria? Wrong. It’s okay to purchase and drinking beer if you can find it, so long as you’re 21. That was difficult. We need a drink.

No Watermelons Here


There is no better way to cool off from the hot summer sun than to bite into a juicy and refreshing watermelon; but don’t expect to kind that kind of reprieve in Rio Claro, Brazil. Why? Because watermelon is prohibited, of course. Did you even have to ask?

A Moose Would Make For a Bad Beer Pong Buddy

Photo Modified: Flickr / Steve Jurvetson CC BY 4.0

There are some glaringly obvious reasons why you wouldn’t want a moose on your team during a beer pong tournament, but it’s actually written law in Alaska that giving beer to a moose is illegal.