Please note that not all holiday souvenirs can be taken home!
You have been on a trip and you would like to take an original memento with you?
A plant cutting or an exotic fruit, you cannot help but want to take some of that holiday feeling home with you.
Be aware that you cannot bring just anything as a souvenir: plants or plant products, such as fruit, vegetables and flowers may carry hidden diseases or pests that we want to keep out of the European Union (EU).
Do not just bring plants and plant products from outside the EU into Belgium
In order to ensure the health and quality of our crops and to exclude risks to food and feed safety, the EU pays particular attention to the protection of plants.
The movement of plants from non-EU countries (third countries) is therefore subject to checks to prevent harmful organisms from being introduced, spread and established in the EU.
Travellers entering the European Union from non-EU countries (third countries) are not allowed to bring plants for planting (seeds, bulbs, tubers, cuttings, grafts, plants with roots,...) in their luggage. If plants are found in your luggage, they will be confiscated and destroyed.
Fruit, vegetables flowers and other plant products may only be brought into the EU, if they are accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the responsible authority of the country of origin.
If you do not have a phytosanitary certificate from the country of origin, these goods will be confiscated and destroyed upon arrival if found in your luggage.
Information on obtaining a phytosanitary certificate in a third country can be requested through the IPPC contact point of the third country concerned: https://www.ippc.int/countries/all/contactpoints.
At present, the only exception to this are the following types of fruit that can enter freely, without a phytosanitary certificate: pineapples, coconuts, durian fruit, bananas and dates.
Due to growing international trade, increased travel and the effects of climate change, the health of our plants is increasingly under threat. The threats to plant health often go unnoticed. For example, a plant brought in from abroad may carry a disease or pest (viruses, bacteria, fungi, insects,...) that can cause significant damage to plants and plant products in the European Union, with serious consequences for our agriculture, horticulture and forestry as well as for our natural environment.
The focus of the European Member States is, on the one hand, on prevention and, on the other hand, on the surveillance of the territory to quickly detect and eradicate new diseases or pests.
The best way to protect our plants, agriculture, horticulture, forestry and our natural environment is by preventing the introduction of these diseases and pests. This is not only the responsibility of the professionals and businesses but also of the citizens.
So, do not take any plants at all as souvenirs after a trip abroad, nor any fruit, vegetables or flowers for that matter, unless you have a phytosanitary certificate.
The European authorities, which in Belgium include the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment (FPS Public Health), the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) and the regional authorities, have joined forces to strengthen the protection of plants and plant products on all levels and to raise public awareness of the importance of plant health.
Want to know more? Interesting links and legislation
The following lists of products for personal consumption describe the rules you have to comply with if you want to bring plants or plant products into the country:
European Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament of the Council of 26 October 2016 on protective measures against pests of plants, amending Regulations (EU) No 228/2013, (EU) No 652/2014 and (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directives 69/464/EEC, 74/647/EEC, 93/85/EEC, 98/57/EC, 2000/29/EC, 2006/91/EC and 2007/33/EC
Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment - Do not bring any fruit, vegetables or plants in your luggage : https://www.health.belgium.be/fr/news/nemportez-pas-de-fruits-de-legumes-ou-de-vegetaux-dans-vos-bagages
Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment – Animals and plants – Plants – Endangered plants – CITES : https://www.health.belgium.be/en/animals-and-plants/plants/what-cites
Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment – Animals and plants – Biodiversity– Invasive alien species: https://www.health.belgium.be/en/animals-and-plants/biodiversity/invasive-alien-species-threat-biodiversity
Foreign Affairs – Travelling abroad – Additional travel information – Customs: https://diplomatie.belgium.be/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs/douane