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What food you can & can’t take through customs

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

As you’ll all be well aware by now they have tightened up security on foods and drinks going in and out of customs. Most of us, myself included, have been sent to the back of the queue with a plastic bag and told get rid of a load of items, so we’ve devised a list of 5 foods you can bring through customs and 5 definite no-nos.

food to take through customs(photo by: armigeress)

Let’s start with the essentials – booze. You can indeed bring alcohol though customs but each country has a limit, so be sure to check on the customs website of the country you are flying into. Having to abandon bottles of plonk at the airport which is a soul destroying experience I can tell you! Better leave the illegal moonshine behind though.

Food is more complicated and requires a quick bit of research. Contrary to popular belief, between the EU, many countries allow you to bring in meat and dairy products provided they are for your own consumption (and free from disease, which goes without saying really!). If you’re travelling between the EU and another continent, it is a generally a no-no, so you’ll have to adapt vegan habits.

With dairy products the same rules apply. Within the EU, all good, outside, better left alone. So think soya milk, dark chocolate and tofu if you’re headed out of the EU. If like me you’re a coffee addict, you’ll be pleased to know that the majority of countries allow it through customs.

Fish products can often be a no-no, especially, if by hook or by crook, you have managed to get your hands on an endangered species. Check the food standards agency or the customs site of the countries you are travelling to and from to be sure.

For the healthy among you, you’ll be pleased to know that you can bring fruit within countries of the EU, provided they have been grown in the country where you are travelling from. They also need to be disease and pest free – maybe best to just bite the bullet and throw that worm infested apple in the bin then! If you are travelling between continents however you may have to skip one of your five a-day – restrictions vary greatly, so check the restrictions of the countries in question.

Funnily enough, water is permitted, but you should really buy bottled water and avoid bringing in tap water, especially between continents – how do you know the water from the tap can be trusted? Customs tend to think along the same lines. To be on the safe side just buy bottled, branded water. Remember that there are limits depending on the country, so check beforehand.

So it’s not entirely straight forward, but it’s not rocket science either, all you have to do is check the customs and food restrictions for your country. If you’re headed out of the EU and not sure, think vegan and you won’t go too far wrong. Now, a few hours without chocolate won’t do you any harm will it?!


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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer anna lia gerardi

I love travelling and writing about my experiences. From my early years I have kept a passion for different cultures and habits and for languages. I speak Italian and Spanish fluently, alongside my native English, and after many years of roaming around I have established myself in beautiful Rome. Google+

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