Please note that not all holiday souveniers can be taken home!
You have been on a trip and you would like to take an original memento with you?
A local cheese, dried ham or some artisanal chutney, you cannot help but want to enjoy at home all the delicious goodies you tasted during your holiday.
Be aware that you cannot bring just anything as a souvenir: products of animal origin such as meat, milk and dairy products may carry pathogens that can cause infectious diseases. In order to keep diseases such as swine fever out of the European Union and/or avoid new outbreaks, a number of rules have been drawn up regarding the introduction of animal products.
Do not just bring animal foodstuffs frome outside the EU into Belgium
Are you returning from a country outside the European Union (a third country)? Then do not bring meat, meat products, milk or dairy products for your personal use in your luggage. However, a limited quantity of eggs, egg products, fish and fishery products is allowed. The list of products for personal consumption describes the rules you have to comply with if you want to bring products of animal origin into the country.
If you still want to bring these products into the country, you will usually have to present a health certificate. You can apply for such a certificate from the relevant authority in the country of departure. Make sure to ask the embassy well in advance about which authority in the country of departure can assist you in obtaining this certificate. It is important to note that these goods will be checked upon entry into the European Union. So be sure to declare them to customs, so they will not be confiscated or destroyed.
Small quantities of powdered infant milk, infant food, and special foods or special pet feed required for medical reasons. However, a few conditions apply to these products:
- They must weigh less than 2kg
- They do not require refrigeration before opening
- They are packaged proprietary brand products
- The packaging of the products is unbroken (unless in current use)
For fishery products for personal consumption, including fish and certain shellfish such as prawns, lobsters, dead mussels and dead oysters, travellers are allowed to bring in up to 20 kg or the weight of one fish, whichever weight is the highest.
You may bring in up to 2 kg of other animal products, such as honey, live oysters, live mussels and snails.
These rules do not apply to animal products transported between EU Member States, or to animal products coming from Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino or Switzerland.
Want to know more? Interesting links and legislation
Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/2122 of 10 October 2019 supplementing Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards certain categories of animals and goods exempted from official controls at border control posts, specific controls on passengers’ personal luggage and on small consignments of goods sent to natural persons which are not intended to be placed on the market and amending Commission Regulation (EU) No 142/2011.
Annex III of the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/2122 provides an overview of the products that are allowed/prohibited and, where applicable, the quantities that may be brought into the EU.
Official website of the European Union – Citizens – Travel – What can you take with you: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/carry/meat-dairy-animal/index_en.htm
Federal Public Service Finance Customs & Excises – Travelling: https://finance.belgium.be/en/customs_excises/private-individuals/travelling
Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment – Animals and Plants – Animals – Endangered Animals – 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/Services/voyager_a_letranger/informations_supplementaires/douane
Publication: Keep animal diseases out of the European Union!