Bringing things from the US in checked luggage? (dry spices specifically) – Moving to Portugal – Expats Portugal Community Forum
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Bringing things from the US in checked luggage? (dry spices specifically)

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(@amywnoble)
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Hi everyone, our visas for Portugal should be (fingers crossed) here in a few weeks and we are working on what will go into our luggage when we fly over. Question...do you know if there will be any issue with bringing some spices and dry mixes from home that we love, mostly from Trader Joe's. The dry spices / spice mixes are all packaged in their original containers and are from 1 oz to 20 oz. Do you think there would be any issue with packing them in our checked luggage? Thank you so much!!

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(@kellyd)
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Joined: 1 year ago

@amynoble, I think you are OK. We brought ground peppers in a zip lock bag, as well as nutritional yeast in a zip lock. No problems. You can check with TSA about various food items at this link.

Spices (dry)

Carry On Bags: Yes
Checked Bags: Yes

Solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked bags. Liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz are not allowed in carry-on bags and should be placed in your checked bags if possible.

TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine. Travelers are encouraged to organize their carry-on bags and keep them uncluttered to ease the screening process and keep the lines moving.

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(@amywnoble)
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@kellyd Thank you!

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(@thomasribatejo)
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Joined: 6 years ago

The links @KellyD has provided are TSA and therefore about what the US will allow you to carry. That's relevant, of course, but the other part of the story is what you may import into the EU and to Portugal.

There is a certain amount of detail on this, however the key point is that meat, milk and derivatives of either should be assumed to be no-go. There are then degrees of acceptability around, say, fish products, but that's outside the scope here.

Dried spices, other than seeds which are intended for cultivation, seem to fit within the "other products not containing meat or milk, for example, honey" category. In this instance, each person may import a total of up to 2kg, approx 5lbs (of everything in that "other [food] products" category), without issue and without the need to declare it based on quantity.

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(@amywnoble)
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@thomasribatejo Excellent, appreciate the help!

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(@alleycat)
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@thomasribatejo Dear Thomas, thank you for your knowledge sharing...can you please provide a link to the Portuguese Airport Customs' lists of allowed/disallowed baggage import items and value limits, provided it will offer an English version?

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Ask our Expat Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
Joined: 6 years ago

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Posts: 442

@alleycat I am travelling currently, without access to my search history, however the primary EU reference page is here and that's almost certainly what I used for the theme of food.  EU legislation is the key factor when it comes to food imports.  

Your question appears to be wider than the original theme of this thread.  The airport page on this is not especially useful - it has a section on limits, however.  More detailed information is available from the relevant Portuguese government authority in Portuguese.

Apologies for having limited ability to help further at present.

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(@alleycat)
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@thomasribatejo Thank you for all you do and say in attempting to help us all, Thomas.  Enjoy your travels.

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(@jonesdn2020)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posted by: @amywnoble

The dry spices / spice mixes are all packaged in their original containers and are from 1 oz to 20 oz.

Being in their original containers will be beneficial.

We are loving the spices available in Lisbon. Portugal was involved in the spice trades dating back to the beginning of the sixteenth century. We just watched an interesting documentary on Netflix about spices.

Friends coming from the US keep offering to bring us items and we politely decline. If foods or ingredients are not available, then Shannon makes them from scratch with what is available here. We are finding that is a healthier option and tastier in most cases. 

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(@kkcwalton)
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Joined: 2 years ago

We just brought 70 pounds of gluten free flour from the US in checked bags, no problems.  Most of the gluten free flours and breads we find here contain corn, which is a no-go for my husband.  Good luck!

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