Reader Question: I am going to visit my family in England this summer. Could you please tell me what food products I am allowed to take? I used to take cheese - am I still able to do so?
The UK government website states that there are no restrictions on bringing food products such as:
- Bread, but not sandwiches with meat and dairy products
- Cakes without fresh cream
- Pasta and noodles, as long as they are not mixed or filled with meat products
- Packaged soup, stocks and flavourings
- Processed and packaged plant products such as salads
- Food supplements such as fish oil capsules
into the UK from any country in the world, so you need not worry if you were planning to pack any of these items.
There are restrictions on bringing in fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy products from abroad, but these are fairly relaxed with regards to EU countries.
If travelling from an EU member state, it is possible to bring meat, dairy, fish and other animal products such as eggs and honey into the UK for personal use.
These items are free from customs duties and VAT as long as their value is less than £390 per adult.
Therefore, you should have no problem taking cheese to the UK as long as it is worth less than £390!
What happens if you bring in a banned product?
If you bring a banned food product into the UK but declare it to Border Force officers, they will simply take it away and destroy it.
You should also declare a product if you think you have carried too much of it into the country.
If you fail to declare it, the government states that you could be prosecuted.
What about travelling from the UK to France?
EU restrictions on transporting food products are stricter, and travellers are not allowed to carry any meat, animal-derived or dairy products. Therefore, taking cheese back into France from the UK would not be permitted.
You are, however, allowed to carry most processed, canned and sealed foods as long as they do not contain animal products, powdered baby milk and baby food, small quantities of honey and eggs, bananas, coconuts, pineapples, dates and other fruit and vegetables for personal consumption only.
Medicines and prescription drugs are also allowed for personal use.