FOR MEMBERS

Can I take French meat, cheese and wine into the UK in 2022?

Can I take French meat, cheese and wine into the UK in 2022?
Want to take a little French cheese into the UK? Photo: Pascal Pavani/AFP
The start of 2022 marks a new phase in the Brexit process - the introduction of checks of goods at the UK border. But what does this mean for travellers wanting to take some French cheese, meat or wine into the UK?

Since the end of the Brexit transition period, travellers who want to bring British food products into France have faced strict controls and outright bans on certain substances, from a ham sandwich for the journey to bringing in a little gift of chocolate or your mum’s home baking.

READ ALSO Bovril, tea and ham sandwiches – what are the rules on taking food from the UK into France?

But taking French produce to those in the UK has been unaffected.

This, however, is set to change in 2022 as the UK begins to introduce its own controls on imports.

Throughout 2022 British authorities have set a series of deadlines for imposing controls on imports from the EU.

This comes with the caveat, however, that British deadlines for controls have already been extended several times because the infrastructure was not ready. It is also not clear at this stage exactly how rigorous checks will be.

January 1st 2022

Implementation of full customs declarations and customs controls.

This refers to businesses importing from the EU on a commercial basis, so won’t affect individuals travelling into the UK, although it’s possible that there will be delays at the ports if businesses are not fully prepared for the new paperwork.

July 1st 2022

Introduction of checks on specified products including meat and meat products, high-risk food items and certain types of plants. These products will require veterinary certification and physical checks will be introduced at the border.

The rules as written refer to all imports – not only those for commercial purposes – so would cover holidaymakers taking home a little French paté as a souvenir, or Brits living in France taking saussison sec or confit de canard as a gift for friends and relatives back in the UK.

The Local asked the UK government about its policy for private individuals travelling with small amounts of food for personal consumption or to give as gifts and they told us: “Further details on plant and animal products imported for personal consumption will be announced later this year.”

It is also not clear at this stage whether UK customs have the capacity to check private vehicles or individual travellers, as well as commercial importers.

September 1st 2022

Introduction of checks on all dairy produce. The same as above, but extended to all dairy produce, so that covers the smelly French cheese you may wish to take into the UK, as well as milk, yoghurt and chocolate.

September 1st also marks the introduction of checks on live animals, but this does not apply to domestic pets, who are still covered by the Pet Passport or Animal Health Certificate rules – full details here.

November 1st 2022

Checks extended to “all remaining regulated products of animal origin, including composite products and fish products”.

This extends the checks and certification so that it covers a wide variety of products including meat, fish, meat or fish products, diary products or any products containing those things – for example certain types of jelly sweets contain gelataine, so are classed as animal products.

When considering bringing items into the EU from the UK, a good rule of thumb is to look for anything certified as vegan.

Certain types of plants are also covered by the regulations, which would cover travellers bringing flowers, bulbs or plants for the garden. 

Wine

French wine, beer and spirits are not covered by extra checks, but have since January 2021 been subject to new limits.

Bringing to an end the cherished tradition of the booze cruise, there are now strict limits on the amount of wine, beer, spirits and tobacco that can be brought into the UK from the EU.

The amounts still allow for bringing a few gifts into the UK, but gone are the days of taking the car over to Calais and loading up the boot in one of the many French wine warehouses.

You can find full details on allowances HERE


Member comments

  1. It’s a shame . The EU was offered full mutual recognition for these food products but refused as they’re desperately trying to demonstrate there’s any benefit to EU membership.

    1. There obviously IS benefit to EU membership – the Single Market – which the UK government opted to leave, in a hard brexit, so it can hardly expect to keep the benefits of it. Johnson explicitly proposed ‘cakeism’ for the UK (eat your cake/cheese and keep it). The EU was never going to give it to him, and didn’t. IMHO All these problems are due to the disingenuous Leave campaign and then the UK government opting for a hard brexit, that few voted for. Recent polls of UK opinion show considerable ‘buyers regret’ in those who voted Leave.

      1. This is not a ‘hard brexit’ by any stretch of the imagination. The unfortunate thing is that this a typical Politicians mess.
        We have ended up with the worst of both worlds, still paying for the EU and without the ‘Benefits’ of membership.
        I voted to leave, but to me, Leave meant Leave totally, and not this Halfway house. It was pie in the sky to imagine that the EU would wave us a fond farewell. Their aim is to protect the Eurocrats self interest at all cost and that is expansionism at any cost.
        The regret we feel is that we have been sold down the river by our Political rulers which was inevitable once our High Court decided that our democratic vote should be further scrutinised by the House of Parliament

        1. What on earth made you think that leaving a major trading block with a set of rules we helped formulate was going to be any different? I have no idea what you expected to happen. Brexit was never going to work. We could have stayed in the SM and CU but that was May’s red line. It’s not the EU’s fault that it’s applying the rules to us. We’re just another third country.

  2. Another cock up from the Brexit Team – There was absolutely NO benefit in leaving the EU, but I am sure someone is making a tidy profit out of everyone else’s misery.

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