Introduction or import of food into the European Union is regulated in order to provide the EU consumers with safe quality food. Food imported from third countries by travellers for their personal needs are not subject to any special customs formalities. However, the introduction of food for personal needs can nevertheless be subject to prohibitions or restrictions at import if that is necessary for the protection of health of humans, animals or plants.
There are no special restrictions regarding the introduction of food of non-animal origin for personal use.
Due to a risk of transmission of animal diseases, the introduction of food of animal origin (meat, milk, meat and milk products, fish, eggs, honey etc.) for personal use of travellers is subject to special requirements laid down by Regulation (EC) No 206/2009. According to this regulation, the following food can be introduced into the territory of the EU without being subject to any veterinary formalities:
Larger quantities of animal products can be introduced in the European Union only if they are subject to the prescribed veterinary formalities at import.
Certain composite products which may contain processed plant products and processed animal products (but not meat products) are not subject to veterinary controls, as well. Such products are bread, cakes, biscuits, chocolate and confectionery (including sweets), not mixed or filled with meat product, food supplements packaged for the final consumer, meat extracts and meat concentrates, olives stuffed with fish, pasta and noodles not mixed or filled with meat product, soup stocks and flavourings packaged for the final consumer, any other food product not containing any fresh or processed meat or diary and with less than 50% of processed egg or fishery products.
Restrictions provided by Regulation No 206/2009 do not apply to personal consignments of animal products which come from Andorra, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland and to consignments of fishery products from the Faeroe Islands and Iceland.
Certain fruits and vegetables from third countries can be subject to phytosanitary inspections at import into the European Union. Moreover, a permit provided by CITES Convention may be required at introduction of certain food products containing ingredients from protected animal or plant species into the EU.