Taking food through customs

I will be traveling to Europe this summer. My first stop is in Holland where I'll be meeting up with a cousin. I want to bring him some home-baked goodies from the USA. Will I be allowed to take these through customs?

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6841 posts

It is extremely rare to encounter a customs check when you enter Europe. In over 20 trips to Europe through various airports including Schipol I've never been stopped or witnessed anyone have their baggage searched. Therefore, I would "got for it" :)

Posted by Helen
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
705 posts

Have to agree with the above. Although I've not been to Holland, all the other European airports I've been to I've just walked straight through without even a glance from customs. I think as long as the food is cooked and doesn't have any raw egg - that seems to be a no no - then you'll probably be OK. Worst thing is they take it from you.

Posted by Kate
Scotland
505 posts

Greetings

You should be just fine. I'd pack them carefully in plastic bags so they are protected from bumps and squishes. Customs tends to be very low key in Europe, but you don't want to bring something that could cause a hassle.

The only things that could cause a problem are meat of any kind, something containing raw eggs or something that is gooey enough to fall foul of the liquids restrictions for carry-ons. But cookies or cakes in general are not a problem. It's more a worry of getting them abroad in one piece...

Kate

Posted by barry
burlington
395 posts

only if their packed in your checked luggage. not your carry on.

Posted by Barbara
Seminole
57 posts

Thanks for your answers. One other question just to clarify--do I definitely have to have the baked goods in my checked bags rather than my carry-on? I had planned on carrying them on with me. Thanks!

Posted by Julie
SF Bay Area, CA, USA
443 posts

You should be able to carry on any food that isn't a liquid, gel or paste. If you can pour it or spread it or smear it, it's not allowed. I haven't had a problem taking food on flights... Just to be safe, you might want to call your airline to verify.

Posted by Rick
Chicago, IL, USA
468 posts

It makes no difference if the food is in your carry-on or your checked luggage. The issue is what you are bringing in to the country, regardless of what package it is in or how it travelled. The major concerns are fruits, vegetables, meats, and dirt, i.e., things that can carry invasive insects and/or bacteria. I've told US Customs that I was bringing back bread from Germany (and the ever-present chocolate). The agent just smiled and told me to enjoy it. Baked goods should present no problem.

Posted by Andrea
NY, USA
9 posts

How about bringing back a few bottles of German wine - when we go to Germany, people we know usually give us the local wine as gifts. We have never have any trouble at customs, but rules have changed. Thanks for any comments.

Posted by Rick
Chicago, IL, USA
468 posts

US Customs won't care about a few bottles of wine, but airport security will. You can try putting them into your checked luggage (in 2 Ziploc bags), but it's iffy at best if they will survive. Most German wine bottles have a long, thin neck, which will be prone to breaking. If you put the bottles in your carry-on, airport security will definitely confiscate them. Best bet would be to drink the bottles there and savor the memories.