Food Law News - EU - 2009

Commission Press Release (IP/09/361), 5 March 2009

IMPORTS - Commission adopts new rules for the introduction of personal consignments of animal products into the EU

The European Commission adopted today a Regulation on the introduction into the EU of animal products by travellers. The Regulation will enter into force on 1 May 2009 and replace the rules that are currently in place. This new legislation intends to clearly explain to the general public the rules concerning the introduction of animal products into the European Union. Indeed, animal products brought into the EU by travellers or sent through the post, could pose a risk to the health of EU livestock by carrying with them certain animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease or other diseases that may also affect humans. The general public therefore plays an important role in keeping such diseases out of the EU.

Commissioner for Health, Androulla Vassiliou, said: "This Regulation embodies the Commission's animal health motto, 'prevention is better than cure'. If the spread of certain animal diseases is not prevented, it can affect both animal and public health. The number of people travelling to and through the EU is huge and increasing. Travellers can help to prevent the spread of animal diseases by informing themselves on the risks and by not carrying animal products in their luggage when returning to the EU from third countries".

As a general rule, travellers are not allowed to bring in their luggage meat, milk or their products from third countries into the EU. To ensure that these rules are clearly understood, an awareness campaign was launched during the EU Veterinary Week of 2008 (10-16 November 2008) to bring the message across to travellers entering the EU.

Posters are now available in 35 languages to be displayed in port, airports, and other points of entry into the EU, to ensure that passengers are aware of the rules and the reasons behind them, before they travel as well as during their journey. In addition, a video in 35 languages has also been developed. It is intended to be screened at EU points of entry and in particular in airports, as well as during flights coming from outside the EU.


In accordance with the new Regulation, travellers are not allowed to bring with their luggage meat, milk or their products from third countries into the EU, unless they are carrying less than 10 kilograms of these products from Croatia, the Faeroe Islands, Greenland, or Iceland.

There will also be an exemption for powdered infant milk, infant food, and special foods or special pet feed required for medical reasons, if weighing less than 2 kilograms and provided that:

For fishery products (including fish and certain shellfish such as prawns, lobsters, dead mussels and dead oysters), travellers may bring in or send to the EU up to 20 kilograms or the weight of one fish if this is higher. However, there will be no such weight restriction for travellers coming from the Faeroe Islands or Iceland.

For other animal products, such as honey, live oysters, live mussels and snails for example, travellers may bring in or send to the EU up to 2 kilograms.

These rules will not apply to animal products transported between the 27 Member States of the EU, or for animal products coming from Andorra, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino, and Switzerland.

All 35 language versions of the posters and video can be found on the following page:

To go to main Foodlaw-Reading Index page, click here.