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

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
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.

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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