Trade of food that has come from another EU country
Monday 8 January 2007
Food coming into the UK from other European Union (EU) Member States is not officially an import. It is subject to free movement of trade between EU countries and not subject to routine checks at UK ports.
This is because all Member States are operating to the same food safety controls. The European Commission, through the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO), checks that there are sufficient controls across the Member States. This is achieved through a series of inspection visits.
Like all food produced in this country, and free circulation food (where food products can freely move within the EU without customs checks although national controls may be set where there are risks to public health) imported from other EU countries, all food products will be subject to the general food safety and hygiene requirements of the Food Safety Act 1990. In general, these are that food must not be rendered injurious to health, unfit for human consumption, or so contaminated that it is not reasonable to expect it to be used for human consumption in that state.
You can bring back a reasonable amount of any food on sale in any EU country. If it is a large amount, you may need to satisfy Customs officers that the food is for your personal use.
This also applies to personal imports of fish and shellfish from Iceland and Norway, and to personal imports of meat and milk products from Norway.
The EU Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. See a map of the Member States on the European Commission website.