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BREXIT

Christmas travel between Denmark and the UK: What can I not pack in my suitcase?

This is the first Christmas since Brexit came into force, so if you're travelling between Denmark and the UK and planning on taking some festive goodies with you, here's what you should know about the new rules and what you can't pack.

Can you purchase a 'flæskesteg' in Denmark and bring it back to the UK to prepare at Christmas?
Can you purchase a 'flæskesteg' in Denmark and bring it back to the UK to prepare at Christmas? Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

If you’re heading home to spend Christmas with family or they’re coming out to stay with you, it’s important to be aware of the rules regarding food and drink, and what you can and can’t bring in and out of Britain and the EU. Some of these have changed following Brexit.

Flying to the UK from Denmark

For those returning to the UK from Denmark, the rules are relatively lax.

Note, if you’re spending Christmas in Northern Ireland there are different rules on food and animal products. Find them here. 

You can bring the following products from Denmark into the UK without worrying about any restrictions:

  • bread, but not sandwiches filled with meat or dairy products
  • cakes without fresh cream
  • biscuits
  • chocolate and confectionery, but not those made with unprocessed dairy ingredients
  • pasta and noodles, but not if mixed or filled with meat or meat products
  • packaged soup, stocks and flavourings
  • processed and packaged plant products, such as packaged salads and frozen plant material
  • food supplements containing small amounts of an animal product, such as fish oil capsules

Meat, dairy, fish and animal products

The rules on bringing meat, dairy, fish and other animal products into the UK are relatively relaxed: you can bring in meat, fish, dairy and other animal products as long as they’re from the EU. 

Therefore, if you’re planning to bring a piece of pork home to prepare a classic Danish flæskesteg for your family at Christmas, you will be okay to do this.

Alcohol allowance

For many, the big one, but there are some limits on how much booze you can bring in from Denmark and the EU more generally. How much you can bring depends on the type of alcohol, so it’s important to check if you want to be sure your bottle of schnapps won’t be taken off you or heavily taxed.

Limits:

  • beer – 42 litres
  • still wine – 18 litres
  • spirits and other liquors over 22 percent alcohol – 4 litres
  • sparkling wine, fortified wine (port, sherry etc) and other alcoholic drinks up to 22 percent alcohol (not including beer or still wine) – 9 litres

It’s worth knowing that you can split your allowance, for example you could bring 4.5 litres of fortified wine and 2 litres of spirits (both half of your allowance).

Flying into Denmark from the UK

While British borders are laid back when it comes to travelling with food and drink, the rules on food and drink are much tougher when entering the EU from the UK.

Most importantly, tea bags – lunged for by Brits the world over – are allowed. Marmite, which is vegan, is also okay but Bovril, which contains beef stock, is not.

Travellers arriving in the EU from Britain can, according to the European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC), bring the following quantities of alcohol: 4 litres of still wine and 16 litres of beer, 1 litre of spirits, or 2 litres of sparkling or fortified wine. So if you fancy a British tipple in Denmark over Christmas, you can, within reason.

If you arrive in the EU from a non-EU country, you cannot bring any meat or dairy products with you. That means no Wensleydale, no Cornish Brie, and no pork pies to enjoy in Denmark over Christmas.

This rule is further-ranging that you might think. The EU’s strict rules mean that all imports of animal-derived products technically come under these rules, so even boxes of chocolates are now banned because of the milk.

Similarly, if you’re planning on asking a friend or family member to bring you over some sweets, cakes, or other home comforts, be aware that the ban includes all products that contain any meat or dairy as an ingredient – which includes things like chocolate, fudge, custard and sweets (because of the gelatine). Even classics like Christmas pudding and mince pies are banned because they contain suet.

You are allowed to bring a small quantity of fruit and vegetables as well as eggs, some egg products, and honey. Restricted quantities of fish or fish products are also allowed: eviscerated fresh fish products (gutted, with all the organs removed), and processed fishery products are allowed up to 20 kg or 1 fish. So you can enjoy some Scottish smoked salmon in Denmark over Christmas if you want.

If you’re travelling with children, note that powdered infant milk, infant food and specifically required medical foods are allowed up to 2kg, as is the case for pet foods. 

It is worth noting that these strict EU rules also apply to sending products by post, so if you were hoping to get around the newly applicable legislation by having someone send you a delivery of mince pies, there’s a good chance they won’t make it past the Danish postal service’s customs checks.

READ ALSO: Passport scans and €7 fee: What will change for EU travel in 2022

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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