Mexican Food Express
September 19, 2022 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Any chance my mom can bring homemade Mexican food with her when she travels from California to the Netherlands - direct flight - next year?

That's the question. I miss her homemade tamales and she offered to bring some. Can she do it? We were thinking wrapped up inside her checked in luggage and even declared if asked of course.
posted by vacapinta to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)

Best answer: "You are not allowed to bring meat and meat products, milk and dairy products for personal consumption from outside the European Union into the EU.


Small quantities of powdered milk for infants, infant formulas and special foods for humans or pets for medical purposes. However, conditions do apply:
- The products do not need to be refrigerated before consumption.
- It concerns packaged products of a registered trademark.
- The packaging is unopened and undamaged.
Fishery products for personal consumption.
Honey for personal consumption.

No health certificate is required for products in which the animal component is no longer recognizable. Examples of those products are chocolate and candy."
posted by doornoise at 9:11 AM on September 19

Best answer: Could you source the tamale ingredients from suppliers within the EU? I'm willing to bet you can get the makings delivered to you in the Netherlands, if your mum is willing to cook while she's on holiday.
posted by doornoise at 9:18 AM on September 19 [2 favorites]

Best answer: EU rules forbid bringing in meat and dairy, but not vegetables and fruit. Here's the Belastingdienst page about it.

However, I admit I was ignorant of this rule and friends and I have brought both pre-packaged and cooked food from the US to the Netherlands many times. My friends once packed a whole pizza in their carry-on! I suspect people bring small amounts of meat and dairy into the EU pretty often. The chance that she'll be stopped at Schiphol customs is minimal, but there is always a chance it will happen.

Side note, I've had good luck with getting ingredients from Tijn's Toko and Westlandpeppers.
posted by neushoorn at 10:33 AM on September 19 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Legally no. Practically, I have smuggled in up to 5kg of non-EU cheese at a go. I'd pack up things in hermetically sealed boxes just in cases of scent (a friend got almost arrested in Iceland because a drug-sniffing dog was enthusiastic about sausage), but even my stinky paper-wrapped smoky cheese got through.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 4:22 AM on September 20

Response by poster: I thought not but was foolishly hoping I was wrong. She might try and make them here but they will of course be missing a certain terroir compared to those she makes at home...Thanks all.
posted by vacapinta at 8:29 AM on September 20

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