When touring on the Continent is once more on the agenda you might want to think twice about packing sandwiches for the journey and filling the cool box with a pork pie, your favourite cheese and milk for that cuppa when you pitch. 

Now that we are no longer members of the EU we are subject to EU rules on what foodstuffs we can personally take into an EU country in our luggage and vehicles. Coming under particular scrutiny are products containing milk, meat and their derivatives, which are seen as ‘a real threat to animal welfare throughout the Union’ according to the European Commission website. The worry is the dangerous pathogens that can reside in milk, meat and their products and that can cause Foot and Mouth Disease and Swine Fever.

Exemptions to the rules are: ‘powdered infant milk, infant food, and special foods or special pet feed required for medical reasons, if weighing less than 2 kilograms and provided that:

    • such products do not require refrigeration before opening
    • that they are packaged proprietary brand products for direct sale to the final consumer, and
    • the packaging is unbroken unless in current use’

You can also take with you fishery products – fish, shellfish such as prawns, lobsters and dead mussels and oysters – up to 20kg or the weight of one fish if this is higher per person. The weight is reduced to 2kg per person for animal products such as eggs, honey, live oysters, mussels and snails! Up to 10kg per person is allowed for fruit, vegetables and other goods.

The current rules were laid down in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/2122 in October 2019, and are the latest amendments to rules that were drawn up following the Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic in 2001.

Border controls may use scanning equipment and detector dogs to screen baggage and any personal consignments that are found to be in breach of the rules may be seized and destroyed and liable for costs or penalties.

If you have packed sandwiches make sure you eat them before you pass through border control. Incidentally, at the time of writing this, the same rules do not apply to entering the UK.