Bringing food into Europe

We are planning to bring some fruit for the overnight flight to Zurich in mid-October. Also plan to bring some beef jerky to snack on the plane and later while hiking in the Alps. Can these items be brought into Switzerland?

Thanks for any help.

Posted by Kate
505 posts


Customs may have been relaxed before, but with Foot & Mouth and Blue Tongue around, they are likely to be super strict about food items. I would not expect to be able to bring the jerky into the country. (You probably can get great jerky or similar in Switzerland).

Generally, you cannot bring meat products or ANYTHING containing meat, whether or not it is fresh, cooked and/or processed, from country to country. There are exceptions within the EU, but those are likely to be tightened up these days.

Also, fresh cheese (and any cheese or fresh milk item from the UK) is generally not permitted to be exported.

Your fruit is OK so long as you dispose of any remains before you go through customs. There are often bins for thus purpose in customs halls.

Respect customs regulations - they exist for good reasons even if they may not be apparent to you. All it takes is one contaminated item to create havoc in another country.


Posted by Linda
Portland, OR, USA
389 posts

Dave, I can't speak to the legality, but I've taken 2 bags of jerky to friends and family in Europe a couple of times with no problems. And lots of people take food on the plane. The greatest concern is fresh foods that may contain disease that could be spread, so jerky that is commercially made shouldn't be a problem. Have a great time.

Posted by Tom
Newport Beach, CA, USA
756 posts

I would probably bet you wont be allowed to being any beef products into Switzerland. Not even honey now - check their web site or the airline I just got back from the alps and noticed a lot more restrictions going in. They are very serious about the beef-mad-cow stuff and even dried - it might not be allowed (if they asked)... but another thing - the butcher shops there are amazing and they have the best dried-beef stick-type sausages you can imagine. Specialties. Ask for "Jaeger-wurst" - small beef-jerky like items that were invented for hikers/hunters generations ago. It may not be your favorite Costco/SamsClub buffalo-jerkey but they are all good - you can even get a sample.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7473 posts

If your just going to be consuming a few pieces of fruit for the flight I guess it's okay, but in general travelers aren't permitted to carry fresh fruits on transatlantic flights to their final destinations. Anything you don't finish I would leave as garbage on the plane. Having said that, it's very rare to encounter customs checks when you enter any country in Europe.

Posted by Dave
Webster Groves, Missouri, USA
65 posts

Thanks everyone for your responses. They will help us avoid embarrassment upon arrival in Switzerland. Happy travels to you too.


Posted by Helen
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
705 posts

I would suggest what ever you take on the plane, beef and/or fruit you eat on the plane and if you don't eat it all put in the rubbish on the plane. Quarantine restrictions are pretty strict now and getting stricter best not to take chances. I know here if you bring in food and don't declare it, even if it is something they will allow, they take a very dim view and you can be fined.

Posted by Flight Attendant
Niagara Wine Country, Canada
808 posts

I've had experiences where the smell of having cured, sealed meat in my roller attracted the sniffer dogs...two flights later! I didn't realize the scent could linger that long! I guess their noses are that good!