Introduction to personal food imports

The products you can bring into Northern Ireland (NI) depends on where you are travelling from, rather than where the products were produced or packaged.

What food products can you bring into Northern Ireland?

If you’re travelling from a country within the EU, you can bring any fresh foodstuffs - fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy or other animal products (for example, fish, eggs and honey) - into NI.

When travelling from outside the EU, there are strict rules about bringing food products, plants and plant products back into NI for your own personal consumption or use. This guide gives further details about the restrictions on other food products being imported for personal use, in luggage or by post or courier, and explains exactly which foodstuffs are exempt from the restrictions. It also gives additional details about some European (non-EU) countries and the restrictions that apply to them.

Risks of importing diseases

Diseases like foot and mouth disease (FMD) and bird flu can be brought into NI via animal products (particularly those containing meat or milk). Fruits and vegetables may carry pests that can infect plants and vegetables in NI. Such diseases and pests can have a devastating effect on our farming livestock, crops and the environment. Animal-related products may also risk human health from diseases, residues or contaminants (for example, from fish, honey, untreated animal hides).

The risks can also be economic - the FMD outbreak in 2001 is estimated to have cost £3 billion relating to agriculture and the food chain.

Taking produce to another country

This guide does not cover produce taken from NI to another country. You are strongly advised to check with the authorities of the country you want to export to, as only they can give you failsafe advice as to what is an acceptable and legal import into their country. 
 

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