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bringing food in from the us

I am on a special raw diet, that includes raw unsalted cream and butter. I also eat raw fish and meat. So I need to pack the cream, butter and cheese. I would also like to pack either some fish or meat. All in quantities just for me.
When I travel domestically I have one suitcase for my food!!
I am worried about customs. Also we may go through Germany or France to get to Norway and I worry about customs there!! Please tell me I'll be fine. Thank you.

Posted by
5452 posts

Google what foods can I bring into: Germany, France and Norway from the US. Your answers will be there.

Posted by
1439 posts

Basic answer is "No".

All Schengen states with nearly all same regulation. Read regulation of Germany for import of products of animal origin. It is part of regulation for private import of food and animal feed.

Good news: In all these countries you will find respective products in supermarkets, bio markets and health food stores.

Do not follow advice given by Claudia. Google lists tons of wrong and non-official answers. Only official regulation is valid.

Posted by
2660 posts

You certainly should be worried about customs. Most of what you have listed would be confiscated upon entry. However none of those items are unique to the US. You will be able to find them in any decent sized city or town.

Posted by
382 posts

My friend packed an apple in her backpack for a flight from London to LA and forgot to eat it. It was sniffed out by a dog before we even made it to customs. Resulted in a full search of her bag. I would not expect to be able to bring any raw food internationally.

You will most likely find these items wherever you are traveling. Look for markets with signs that say “Bio”.

Posted by
4113 posts

It's illegal to bring such products into the country undeclared.

How do you intend to package and store such products? Personally I suspect that the fresh fish you'll find in Norway will be better than the fish you've purchased however many days before your travel and then packed and travelled to Norway, likewise meat and you can find unpausteried milk, butter and cream throughout Europe although it takes a bit more effort so do a bit of online research and I'm sure you'll find stockists in the area you intend to travel.

Posted by
1453 posts

I won't tell you you'll be fine because I don't think you will be. You are not allowed to bring meat or dairy from outside the EEA or Switzerland to Norway, not even just for your own private consumption. Not sure about the rules for fish though. If you're caught bringing meat or dairy, the items will be seized by customs and if you didn't declare them you might face legal consequenses.

Customs in Europe is about taxing goods AND keeping illegal stuff out. If you have the slightest doubt whether the things you have in your bag are allowed or not, you need to choose the red lane at customs. And don't assume that your bags haven't been checked, it's not uncommon for customs to have a look at the bags before they end up on the baggage carousel, by x-ray or with dogs or both. And if your bags looks suspicious, you might be stopped even in the green lane.

On the other hand, Norway has amazing seafood. You'll have no problems finding excellent fresh fish.

Posted by
1439 posts

Norway has clear rules:
"If you are bringing meat, meat products or milk, cheese and other milk products, these must be purchased within the EEA area. It is prohibited for private individuals to import such products from countries outside the EEA area without a special permit."

Therefore buy some stuff in Germany or France.

And better no jokes with Norwegian officials - they never laugh on duty.


Posted by
8889 posts

Much if the work of customs is done behind the scenes. It is not "unmanned". You just don,'t see them. But they see you.

The dogs are in the back sniffing luggage. If one alerts to a bag, customs officials will watch to see who picks up the bag and will magically appear to stop you.

You can find everything you need in Europe. Just research ahead of time where to find it.

Posted by
11845 posts

MarkK's post above includes the link for the official source. Long story short? You'll need to leave that suitcase of fish, meat and dairy at home.

You've evidently done this before but yikes, I sure wouldn't put raw meat or dairy in a suitcase, especially for a trip like this where a bad case food poisoning could ruin an expensive trip.

Posted by
5591 posts

How raw do you need your raw fish? Norwegian breakfast (and dinner) buffets seem to have a lot of cured fish - lox, gravlax, pickled herring.

Posted by
3348 posts

You have choices.
You can try to transport the food knowing it may be confiscated. Along the way experiencing the customs practice of possibly several countries.
You can find your lodging and using Google Maps, identify the closest groceries.
Check out happycow dot net for health food stores that might provide similar products
Use google for blogs by raw diet travelers or raw dieters in Norway. If you do it, chances are there are others who do as well and are bound to blog about it.
Talk with your nutritional advisor of how crucial this food plan is for the time you are away. I know of few health reasons for a raw diet unless it is something rare or obscure. If that is the case, some others find that travel isn't feasible until their health improves.
If the diet is a 'choice', then consider adapting your home diet to flow into what is available in Norway. They will have raw meat and fish as well as raw vegetables and fruit. You can research their dairy situation.

Posted by
6392 posts

What raw meat is safe to eat? Do you mean tartare or carpaccio?

I would definitely not try to bring any food in. Talk to your doc and see how you can adjust your diet to accommodate this trip. In worst case, you can select all your food in grocery stores so you have control over the ingredients.

Posted by
942 posts

I agree with Maria in asking whether this diet is necessity or choice. If necessary, I would talk with my doctor about what substitutions can be made if any. However, if it's a diet choice, I'd urge you to maybe not be so strict on vacation. While you can and probably will find raw items, the time it will take to track down the stores and go and buy food will cut into vacation time.

Being part Norwegian, I can tell you they have all sorts of fish both fresh and pickled.

Posted by
11845 posts

I still have to ask: Even if allowed, HOW would you bring raw fish or meat (or even cream) all the way to Europe without it going badly off, especially with layovers?

Posted by
4113 posts

Thank you all for your answers-This is turning out to be a real challenge!!

I don't see why it has to be. I guess a bit of clarification on your diet would be beneficial but only if you're happy to elaborate.

Norway has exceptional fish and seafood, it's surrounded by water, its cuisine is heavily dominated by fish, you'll find fresh raw fish pretty much anywhere in Norway and I can guarantee it'd be better than any raw fish you transport over with you. Trust me, you'll be in raw fish heaven in Norway.

Likewise meat. I'm also assuming tartare and carpaccio or do you mean dehydrated but still uncooked food such as jerky? Whatever the choice is you can find good, fresh meat in Norway (and jerky) and if you're eating it raw I'd much rather buy it (or eat it at a restaurant) in the country I'm in than transport it all the way from the US in a suitcase and potentially through other countries as well.

Unpasteurised cheese? You'll find a lot more in Europe than you will in the US. American rules on the sale on unpasteurised cheese are quite strict and you'll be exposed to so much variety that cannot be exported to the US, particularly if you're travelling through France.

Raw milk is a problem in Norway (I've since done a bit of Googling) and there are very strict controls surrounding the sale of it. The big issue with raw milk is freshness. I would not be confident in consuming raw milk that has been transported in unsuitable conditions across the Atlantic and a considerable part of Europe. This is probably your only real challenge in Norway. Is pasteurised milk a satisfactory replacement in light of such challenges?

Ultmately though, you're in Europe, not some third world backwater, you'll find pretty much everything you need (and more in some cases).

Posted by
3 posts

Again, thank you for your answers and concerns. Just to answer some questions of some, I have successfully traveled domestically with the food in a suitcase with cold packs in it and I always stay in places that have a refigerator. I have been on this diet for many years so to make a sudden change could mean real discomfort while I am trying to vacation. The transport is not the problem, it is the customs as I am finding out!!
One solution that I will explore is that I have many relatives in Norway and some are on a farm and I may be able to get my raw dairy that way. What is interesting is that I spent my first years on a farm in Norway consuming RAW DAIRY!!!