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Brussels, 2 July 2010

Holiday season: useful tips on transporting animals, food imports and other issues

With the holiday season fast approaching and millions of Europeans intending on travelling within and outside the European Union, there are some travel considerations that Europeans should be aware of. Whether these concern travelling with a pet, thinking of importing non-EU food products into the EU or resolving travel disputes with an operator, these tips provide a useful insight into the ways in which the EU is working to help and assist EU travellers.

I'm planning to enjoy the sun and the sea at the French Riviera this summer. Can I take my dog with me?

Yes, provided that your vet has vaccinated the dog for rabies and has entered the vaccination information in your dog's passport. A valid rabies vaccination is the only requirement needed to travel with your pet across borders of EU Member States. However, for the entry of pets into Ireland, Sweden, Malta or the United Kingdom, additional testing is required to verify that the vaccine has been effective. For these countries, and Finland, anti-parasite treatment has to be performed as well. Also, please note that if your dog is too young, he might not be allowed to accompany you. If this is the case, please check with the competent authorities of the Member State you're planning to visit to find out the specific conditions it sets for the travel of young pets. Finally, please note that these rules are only applicable to pet dogs, cats and ferrets – not any other types of pets.

I have been living permanently outside the EU and I'm now heading back home for the summer holiday this year. Can my pet cat join me?

Yes, provided you have certain documents accompanying your cat. If you are a resident of Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland or the Vatican City State, your pet cat could come along with its passport issued by your country of residence and accepted by the EU Member States. If you are visiting from another country, and depending on your holiday destination, you could be asked to vaccinate your cat and have him or her undergo tests for three months before entering the EU. In some cases, the cat would have to be quarantined. Please bear in mind that, in principle, the pet passport is only used for pets travelling between EU Member States.

I live in the EU. Where can I get the pet passport?

Please contact a veterinarian at your place of residence. The national authorities in each EU Member State issue the pet passport to the vets. Please note that the European Commission does not issue pet passports.

For more information on the pet passport and the movement of pets, please visit:

My holidays in the Middle East are coming to an end and I would like to bring back some goat cheese from here. Can I do that?

Unfortunately that's not possible. When returning home from most countries outside the EU, it is illegal to bring back any meat or dairy products whether these are for yourself or as a gift for others. A few neighbouring countries are excluded. If you are returning from Croatia, the Faeroe Islands, Greenland or Iceland you can bring along less than 10 kilos of meat, milk or their products. A few other exemptions are also applicable. One, for instance, concerns powdered infant milk, infant food and special foods or special pet food required for medical reasons. But these products shouldn't weigh more than two kilos, they should not require refrigeration before opening, and they must be packaged with the packaging unbroken.

You can also bring back fish and certain shellfish provided they don't exceed 20 kilos in weight. If you are returning from the Faeroe Islands or Iceland however there are no weight restrictions for these fishery products. Other animal products, such as honey, also have a weight restriction of two kilos.

These rules do not apply to animal products transported between the EU27 or coming from Andorra, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland.

What if I decide to bring that cheese anyway?

By breaking the rules you could face serious delays at the port of entry, prosecution and a fine. You should also be aware that you won't be able to enjoy the product you attempted to bring in as personal consignments that break the rules are seized and destroyed.

It is important, however, to remember that these exist in order to protect your health and the health of the EU's livestock from serious animal diseases.

So, why take this unnecessary risk?


How can I be sun safe this summer?

At the start of the holiday season, many people start to think about what they need to protect themselves and their families during a sunny summer or if travelling to a sunny destination.

Sunscreen products protect from UV radiation and can be effective in preventing sun-burn and skin cancer. Consumers should therefore use sunscreens appropriately: choosing sunscreen products with UVA and UVB protection (EU requirements on clear labelling make it easier to identify those products); using the right factor; using enough sunscreen; applying sunscreen regularly enough.

Being aware of risk factors is also important and sunscreen products should be only one of a number of measures to protect from the UV radiation of the sun. See information, facts and figures and pictograms at the following link.

For further information please see


During my holidays, I have had problems with an airline, a car rental company or a tour operator. Who can help me?

If you have problems with a scheduled or charter airline (such as flight cancellations or delays), you have specific rights under the EU's Passenger Rights Regulation (see MEMO/10/281). If you believe that your consumer rights have not been respected in some other way (for example, you are unable to get reimbursement for a package holiday by the travel company, or a car rental company has overcharged you for a service which you have not requested), complain to the company first and see if you can resolve the problem by mutual agreement.

If this fails, then turn to your national consumer organisation for advice. A list of contacts is available at:

If you are unable to resolve the complaint with a company based in another EU country, a European Consumer Centre in your country can help you with your case.

The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) is an EU-wide network co-sponsored by the European Commission and the Member States. It is made up of 29 centres, one in each of the 27 EU Member States and also in Iceland and Norway. The ECCs can offer legal and practical advice, help to mediate with a company in another European country, or propose other solutions.

More on the ECC-Net, including contact details:

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