Are gluten-free foods part of ‘health reason’ UK - France imports?

EU law is not specific on precise foods that are subject to this law, however there are guiding points available online

5 August 2021

There are exception rules for ‘special foods required for medical reasons’ that can be found online as well as the foods cannot weigh more than 2kg and this amount is combined Pic: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock

By Liv Rowland

Reader question: I understand that foods required for medical reasons can be brought into France from the UK when travelling. Can you clarify further which foods are acceptable and does this include gluten-free foods for someone with coeliac disease (causing a severe reaction to gluten)?

EU Law is not specific on precise foods that are subject to this rule but note that this relates mainly to meat (fish is less restricted) and dairy products, which are otherwise banned from being brought in by travellers. This rule also covers products containing significant amounts of these two as ingredients.

It could also relate to restricted plant products such as fresh fruit, vegetables and seeds, but plant-based food that has been processed, crushed or cooked is already acceptable.

The rules to use the exception for ‘special foods required for medical reasons’ (in French denrées alimentaires spéciales requises pour des raisons médicales) are listed at here (article 7 and Annex 1, Part 1):

  • The food should be a branded, packaged product sold direct to the consumer;
  • It should not require refrigeration before opening;
  • The packaging should be unbroken, unless it is a pack you are currently using.

In addition, the foods cannot weigh more than 2kg and this amount is combined with an allowance for any powdered baby milk or baby foods that would otherwise fall into banned categories.

EU and French customs officials were not able to confirm this to The Connexion but we see no reason why branded, sealed packs of gluten-free foods needed due to coeliac disease should not be acceptable for bringing in according to these rules.

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