Personal Imports – Food products that can be brought into Ireland from a Third Country for personal consumption or use
Personal imports, which are sometimes called ‘personal consignments’, are foods that are brought into Ireland from a third country (outside the EU, including the UK but not Northern Ireland) that are intended for personal consumption or use (i.e., they are not intended for sale or supply, they are not intended to be placed on the market). Personal imports include food that you:
- have in your luggage
- send to someone for personal use, i.e., non-commercial consignments
From a food safety and hygiene perspective, there are different rules for personal imports of foods of non-animal origin and foods of animal origin.
Food of non-animal origin
Certain foods of non-animal origin (such as nuts, fruit, vegetables, cereals, tea, spices, etc.) from certain third countries require checks on import, i.e., import controls. Import controls are for these products are outlined in Regulation (EU) 2019/1793.
From the 3 July 2022, the weight limit for personal imports of foods listed in Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 that are exempt from the import controls reduced. From the 3 July 2022, up to 5 kg of fresh products and 2 kg of other food products can be imported for personal use or consumption. The weight limits apply per product which means the total weight of all imported products can exceed the 5 kg fresh products/2 kg other products limit. For example, this means a passenger may import up to 5 kg of an individual fresh product and up to 5 kg of another fresh product in their luggage without the food being subject to import controls.
Foods of non-animal origin from other third countries that are not on this list can be imported into Ireland without any weight restriction.
People wishing to import food of non-animal origin listed in Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 for personal use must:
- Check if the product(s) are listed in the import controls regulation.
- Ensure the weight of the products is no more than 5 kg for fresh products and 2 kg for other food products.
If the imported food does not meet these criteria, the food products will be subject to official controls. You will be treated as an official importer and will need to comply with the regulation requirements for official importers.
A list of foods and their country of origin subject to this new weight limit can be found in the legislation. This summary table of products is not exhaustive and is subject to change.
Prior to importing certain food of non-animal origin from some third countries, it is your responsibility to consult the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 to make yourself aware of the requirements of the legislation.
Foods of animal origin
Foods of animal origin are not permitted as personal imports from a third country into the EU except for the following:
- Meat, milk and their products from the Faroe Islands, Greenland or Iceland, provided the combined weight is less than 10 kg.
- Powdered infant milk, infant food, and special foods or special pet feed* required for medical reasons, if they weigh less than 2 kg and do not require refrigeration before opening, are packaged proprietary brand products for direct sale to the final consumer, and the packaging is unbroken unless in current use.
- Fishery products, this includes eviscerated fishery products and certain shellfish such as prawns, lobsters, dead mussels, and dead oysters. You can bring in or send to the EU a combined quantity which is less than 20 kg (or the weight of one fish if this is higher).
- Note: There is no weight restriction for fishery products coming from the Faroe Islands or Greenland.
- Other animal products, e.g., honey, live oysters, live mussels, and snails. You can bring in up to 2 kilograms.
*Powdered infant milk, infant food, and special foods or special pet feed cannot be sent as a small consignment but can be brought in your luggage.
These rules do not apply to animal products transported between the Member States of the EU, or for animal products coming from Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino, or Switzerland.
Prior to importing food of animal origin from certain third countries, check Regulation (EU) 2019/2122 to ensure you comply with the legislation.
Further information on importing foods of animal origin into Ireland can be found on the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine website and on the EU Commission website.