If you’re planning a trip in your campervan or motorhome to France and the wider European continent, you’re no doubt planning on packing your fridge with enough food and drink to last you.
But not so fast! There are certain EU rules about the sort of food you can and cannot take across borders. In this post we’ll outline the rules so you can plan accordingly.
At Anthony Jones, we specialise in bespoke insurance cover for campervans and motorhomes. If you have any questions about your insurance needs for your European trip, call us on 0208 290 9099, or email Commercial.Motor@AnthonyJones.com.
EU Rules for Taking Food Over the Border
EU countries impose bans on taking certain foods over the border. Some foods may contain harmful pathogens, and controlling food imports is a means of reducing the risk of outbreaks on the continent caused by contaminated food.
The rules usually apply to fresh foods, including:
- Dairy products
- Fruit and vegetables
And any products containing any of these items.
Exceptions to Rules for Bringing Food to the EU
There are some exceptions. For example, you’re allowed to take up to 2kg of powdered baby milk, and even baby food that may contain “contraband” ingredients. Also, you can bring in up to 2kg of pet food.
Also, though you’re not allowed to bring meat into France and Europe, you are allowed to bring up to 20kg of fish (including shellfish such as prawns and lobsters, and mussels and oysters so long as they’re not alive).
Also, though you’re not allowed to bring in “plants” (including fruit and vegetables), there are exceptions for bananas, coconuts, dates, and pineapples.
For more detail, you can read the most up-to-date rules on the personal imports you’re allowed to bring into France and Europe.
What Happens If I’m Caught With Contraband Food in My Motorhome?
The official personal imports guidance says that officials have the right to seize and destroy any foodstuffs that are in breach of the rules. They also mention “costs and penalties” for anyone responsible for “illegal consignments”.
But that said, multiple campervan and motorhome forums suggest that “nobody checks” what food you have in your fridge when you’re crossing the border. Some posters shared images of their campervan fridges full of “forbidden” food, like bacon and milk.
But don’t risk it. It may all depend on the specific border agents you encounter when entering the EU. Regardless of the experiences others have had, a small bit of bacon could land you in a lot of hot water.
Our advice is to follow the rules as best you can. You can always buy whatever you’re not able to take over in shops or supermarkets once you arrive.
What Can I Take Across Borders When I’m Already in the EU?
The rules are only for taking food into the EU. For most continental campervan trips, your point of entry will be France, so these rules basically concern the sort of foods you can and cannot take from the UK into France.
The rules do not apply to transporting animal products between EU member states. So once you’ve arrived in the continent, if you’re travelling onwards from France into other countries, you won’t have to worry about what you bring over the border.
What Food Can I Bring Back Into the UK?
The UK government imposes similar restrictions on the food you can bring into the UK from EU countries. Once again, they’re mainly concerned with animal products (including fish), fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. And once again, there are some exceptions to the rules.
For more detail, you can get the most up-to-date information on the food you can bring back into the UK from the EU.
Are You Prepared For Your European Campervan or Motorhome Trip?
Hopefully your trip across the continent will be one to remember – but not for the wrong reasons!
If you suffer a breakdown or an accident while overseas, getting the support you need can be a nightmare – especially if you don’t speak the local language.
So for total peace of mind, get dedicated European breakdown cover for your campervan or motorhome.
At Anthony Jones, we specialise in bespoke insurance cover for campervans and motorhomes, which can include European breakdown cover. To get the cover you need at a good price, call us on 0208 290 9099, or email Commercial.Motor@AnthonyJones.com.