10 Oddest Food Laws From Around The World

"Don't break the law." It's a simple four-word sentence that pretty much sums up how (most) people try to live their day-to-day lives. There are societal rules in place for a reason, and it's best not to find yourself on the wrong side of them. Landing yourself a spot in the slammer is no one's idea of a great time, so be a stand-up citizen and do the right thing, even though from time to time it might prove difficult.

Now, there are universal laws that pretty much apply to everyone everywhere in the world. Don't steal. Don't inflict harm on others. That kind of stuff. But, did you know that there are some places in the world that have some pretty bizarre laws when it comes to food and drinks? You wouldn't think that the culinary landscape was rife with laws until you end up accidentally breaking one of them. So, if you're the kind of person who loves to travel the globe, just be aware of these laws that actually exist in some places you might find yourself. Your lawyer will thank you later.

Ketchup is banned from schools in France (with one exception)

France takes its food very seriously. Food is a way of life over there, and the French savor every moment of a meal. They place high importance on the quality of ingredients and the combinations of flavors. That means no substituting one food in place of something you might not like in a dish. A chef puts thought and purpose behind a dish, and mixing and matching whatever your little heart desires completely disrupts the flow of flavors. Yes, it's that serious. This quest for top-tier flavors and ingredients has led to a strict law surrounding ketchup (which has a shocking origin story) in schools.

The creamy tomato-based condiment is (mostly) banned in school cafeterias. We say "mostly" because the only time it's allowed to sneak into a meal is when French fries, called pomme frites, are served. And, the pomme frites are only available once a week. The Los Angeles Times reports that Bruno Le Maire, the French agriculture and food minister, believes the country ought to set exemplary culinary standards for the rest of the world, and ketchup is not a nutritious aspect of a meal. But, it's not just the nutritional aspect that's concerning. According to Jacques Hazan, president of the Federation of School Pupils' and College Students' Parents Councils, children often use the sweet, red substance to mask other flavors, and in a country that places massive importance on taste, is a huge no-no.

You can only chew gum in Singapore with a doctor's note

Chewing gum is pretty popular. It gives our teeth something to do when those chompers start to get bored. Plus, gum comes in so many different flavors nowadays that it's nice to have a minty or fruity burst erupt in your mouth to clear away any foul breath that might lurk under the surface. And who doesn't love blowing an epic bubble? However, if you're the kind of person who always has to keep a stick of gum in your mouth, you'll want to avoid the country of Singapore.

It all has to do with the country's push to look perfect, and having old chewing gum peppering the sidewalks and wadded up underneath park benches totally destroys that desire for pristine cleanliness. A writer named Tom Plate spoke with Lee Kuan Yew, the once-prime minister of Singapore, who explained the "tendency to stick the remains of the gum in every which place was viewed by the authorities as a palpable attack on Singapore's ambition to be perfect." If you absolutely need gum, there are ways to obtain a prescription for therapeutic gum from pharmacists and dentists. However, it's probably best to avoid it altogether or risk getting slammed with a hefty fine if you're caught spitting it out.

You can't eat in the street in Florence, Italy

If you're a foodie looking for an epic destination to truly enjoy some of the greatest food this planet has to offer, look no further than Florence, Italy. The city offers some of the greatest dishes one can possibly ask for, along with incredible wines, as well. But, all of that astounding cuisine means a heavy load of tourists visiting every year, and that all adds up to excessive amounts of litter left behind by disrespectful travelers. That's a huge problem. So, the mayor of Florence enacted a law to combat the trash accumulating on the streets of his beautiful city.

There is now a city ordinance in effect that makes it illegal to eat and drink in the city's historic center (where most of the tourists flock to sightsee). Four streets are affected by the ordinance — Via de' Neri, Piazzale degli Uffizi, Piazza del Grano, and Via della Ninna — and even though the streets are lined with some amazing eateries, there is absolutely no loitering on the sidewalk, roads, or doorsteps of shops while munching down some grub. You risk a hefty fine if you do it, so it's best to enjoy your meal inside a restaurant before venturing out to the streets of Florence to see all the epic sights it offers.

Don't feed pigeons in San Francisco

If you're hanging out at a park bench enjoying a meal, you can be sure of at least two things: You won't feel hungry after you finish (duh), and you'll find that you suddenly become quite appealing to swarms of pigeons. Those winged residents are all too aware that you have something they want, and they'll gradually inch their way closer to you until you finally cave and toss them a little something out of kindness. However, if you're in San Francisco, don't let the police catch you sharing a meal with them.

According to the city's website, feeding pigeons is absolutely illegal. On a page appropriately titled "Pigeon Nuisances," it's explained that "feeding birds encourages pigeons to roost, which causes property damage and is a potential health hazard." Even though you might look a pigeon in the face and think, "Aww, they're so cute!" don't let those adorable beaked faces sway you into giving up your food. Pigeons can carry all sorts of diseases, and once they start eating, they will inevitably use any surface they can as a toilet. That makes for an unsightly — and unsanitary — environment for everyone.

You can't feed moose beer in Alaska

When the stress of the day really starts getting to you, a cold beer or a well-crafted cocktail can really help take the edge off things. You loosen up a bit and let the booze just wash the anxiety of the day away. But, be careful, because kicking back a few too many drinks can lead to problems. Now, we normally associate drunken episodes with humans who imbibe, however, in Fairbanks, Alaska, there's a pretty odd law in place due to a moose who would overindulge and end up going on drunken rampages.

The law is simple: Don't give moose booze unless you want to find yourself on the wrong side of the police. Pretty bizarre, right? It apparently all started because a local tavern owner would frequently feed his pet moose beer as a way to entertain the patrons in the bar. But, as amusing as everyone found it, the animal would end up drinking way too much and going on violent rampages. And, with it being the size of, well, a moose, it was a terrifying thing to witness. So, officials stepped in and made it illegal for anyone to feed moose beer. Looks like moose will have to find another way to unwind after a stressful day.

Don't eat fried chicken with a fork in Georgia

Fried chicken is one of those foods that you really can't tackle with utensils. It's meant for good old hand-holding food fun. And, let's be honest, there's something more intimate about picking up your food with your hands instead of using a knife and fork to carefully disassemble it. Well, if you're a huge fan of fried chicken, there are few better places to eat it than the Poultry Capital of the World, Gainesville, Georgia (not to be confused with Gainesville, Florida). But, when you dive into a golden, breaded piece of poultry here, the law actually requires you to bail on the utensils and use only your hands.

That's right, an ordinance is actually in place that states fried chicken is a hands-only operation. Frank Hooper, the Gainesville police chief, explained that the rule was put into place in 1961 as a public relations stunt to cement the town as the true poultry capital on the planet. Now, are you really going to get thrown into the slammer if you decide to start pulling the chicken meat off the bone with a fork and a knife? Probably not. The police have much better things to do. But, regardless of the fact that it was put into play as a public relation stunt, it's still an ordinance that exists.

Married women can only drink one glass of wine in Bolivia

When you go out with friends to a dinner or bar to unwind for the evening, it's never a bad idea to snag yourself a glass of great wine. Sure, you can opt for a beer or cocktail, but there's something about wine that just feels a bit classier, and who doesn't want to feel classy from time to time? But, once you kick back one glass, it's likely you'll order up a second, and maybe even a third, depending on how late into the evening it is. However, if you're a married woman living in Bolivia, you better keep your drink maximum to one only.

The entire country of Bolivia doesn't have this one-drink-for-a-married-woman rule, but the capital of La Paz does, and they enforce it. It seems pretty archaic to enact a rule like this, but the residents of the city abide by it. The reasoning behind the rule has to do with the effects that alcohol has on people. Drinking too much causes you to make poor decisions, and sometimes those decisions result in infidelity. That's exactly what the country wants to prevent through this law. Men also have solid ground to stand on when it comes to divorcing their wives if the women are seen in public consuming more than one alcoholic beverage (and no word yet on how this law affects same-sex married couples in the country).

Don't send someone a pizza without asking first in Louisiana

It feels good to do nice things for other people, especially when they're not even expecting it. It warms your soul and scores you some solid karma points, and we're all in need of an extra batch of those now and again. So, if you have a buddy who absolutely loves pizza, a lovely thing to do would be to send them a hot, cheesy pie totally unannounced so they don't have to worry about dinner, right? Well, even though pizza always tastes better from a restaurant, if your friend lives in Louisiana, definitely do not send that doughy disc, no matter how many karma points you're trying to accrue.

Unless you have an extra $500 lying around to waste on a fine, don't be a hero and send your pizza-loving pal a pie. According to Louisiana law, it's considered harassment to send someone something they're unaware of and have to pay for themselves. If you opt to pay for the pizza prior to sending it, then that's a whole different story. The last thing you want to do is harass someone who's supposed to be your friend. Call them first and ask if they want a hot pie and then offer to pay. That's the kind of action that will certainly get you the best kind of karma points: the legal kind.

Never import beer into Nigeria

Africa is a massive, sprawling continent full of eclectic cultures and amazing destinations. Anyone whose mission it is to consider themselves a well-traveled human absolutely needs to go explore everything it has to offer. But, like with any foreign spot, you have to familiarize yourself with the rules so you don't end up on the wrong side of prison bars in a country thousands of miles away from your friends and family. Let's say you decide to visit Nigeria, and you're super excited to meet the people, eat the food, and kick back some brews while you do it. Well, there's one rule you better get really good at before going.

You had better become great at refusing to try to import any kind of beer into the country. So, don't go buying your favorite six-pack and try bringing it with you. You'll find your vacation goes south very quickly. But, also brush up on the rest of the items you can't bring with you, either. Mineral water, soft drinks, and sparkling wine are also on that list. Afraid you won't be able to purchase a box of your favorite cereal when you get there? Leave those Lucky Charms at home. Cereal, fruits, veggies, and eggs are also prohibited. Basically, you'll have to seek out some great brew and your own food when you arrive, which isn't a bad thing because that forces you to go out and explore more.

Avoid carrying this fruit in public places throughout Southeast Asia

One of the worst things that can happen when you're out in public is getting caught in an environment that has an awful smell for an extended amount of time. The fumes nestle into your nostrils and occupy real estate they don't deserve. A bad smell can absolutely ruin your day, including your appetite. Don't be the reason a public space smells. How do you go about that? Well, for one, shower regularly. And two, don't carry durian fruit around with you. What is durian fruit? Well, aside from it being a food Bobby Flay can't stand, it's a food so pungent that countries in Southeast Asia actually have laws against it.

So, how bad exactly is the smell and taste of durian? Well, it depends on who you ask. It's one of those super polarizing foods, with people who absolutely cannot live without it and others who think it's the most repulsive thing on the planet. A food writer named Richard Sterling described the fruit as "pig sh**, turpentine, and onions, garnished with a gym sock." The late Anthony Bourdain said after you finish eating one, "Your breath will smell as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother." Yikes! So, it's not surprising if you're caught carrying one of these on public transportation you get slammed with a $500 fine. Now that stinks.