I was wondering if it is possible to bring prepared meals ( including meat) for my kids with anaphylactic allergies. I know that in general it is looked down upon but I am really stuck. We are from the US going to the Netherlands. Is there someplace I can go to have it certified or get official papers explaining the situation?

  • 4
    Are these commercially made meals or home made? Would you be able to make the needed meals when in the Netherlands, (as all normal food stuffs are in the shops, well labeled if in Dutch.)
    – Willeke
    Mar 15, 2019 at 22:04
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    In general, papers explaining the situation won't help you. You need papers showing that your food is safe to import: belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/bldcontenten/belastingdienst/… - these will be quite difficult and/or costly to get.
    – DCTLib
    Mar 15, 2019 at 22:13
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    The link above also has the information about vegatables - which says you need a phytosanitary certificate to import those. In a nutshell it'll be possible to import fresh food, somehow, but it'll be a major hassle and involve lots or paperwork - or else you risk the food being confiscated. You can try dehydrated meals, and you'll probably be fine, but it's a gamble. Why do you feel that you cannot get food in the Netherlands? Raw ingredients are available, and allergens must be labeled in the EU (or the information available on request).
    – averell
    Mar 16, 2019 at 10:47
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    Allergen labelling in the EU is very stringent, far more so than in the USA. The Dutch Anaphylaxis [anafylaxis] Network has "passes" with allergen warnings and instructions for administering Epipen/Emerade/Jext at (Google Translate) translate.google.nl/…
    – Owain
    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:38
  • 1
    What exactly are your kids allergic to? How long are you going to Netherlands for, and what kind of meals were you intending to take? Mar 16, 2019 at 17:29

1 Answer 1


You can bring enough food for the flight and layovers. But you can not bring fresh food into the Netherlands without the right paperwork. And that paperwork is very hard to get, basically not available for private imports.

Taking frozen meals on an intercontinental flight is a challenge as you can not control the temperature of the food while in the hold or in transit between planes, nor can you bring more than you can expect to need onto the plane. Other ways of conserving might work but you will still need to take the hurdle of importing it on arrival.

If you can get canned food your child can eat, bring that, as almost all prepared foods can be imported. But for fresh food, it will be harder to impossible. You can try to bring one or two portions, with the explanation, and declare them on entry into the Netherlands. With luck they will allow you to take food for one or two days, so you can find the way in the Netherlands. But they will not allow you to bring food for a longer stay, as there is enough suitable food in the Netherlands and the fresh food you bring with you is not cleared for import.

There are many people in the Netherlands with allergic reactions, they can all find enough food that meets their needs. Even eating out is well possible, as long as you can declare what should not be in the food. Bring the full list of 'not allowed' (in English should be good enough, but if you can get it translated into Dutch it may help in a few cases.) And bring the medication your child needs in an emergency, not just for in the Netherlands but foremost and especially for in the plane. Having a doctors prescription to replace used medication (in case you do need that) will help as well.

I have several friends and relatives with food allergies ranging from a mild rash to airway problems, if not the 'few minutes to react' version. They can all find food in the supermarkets (by reading the labels on all products.) You may need the Dutch translation of the foodstuffs or parts, so you can check the labels. You can also ask people around you, more than 75% of the Dutch will speak enough English to help you. And all of them will know people with allergic reactions so they will understand the urgency.

If you do want to make your meals from scratch and have a kitchen available, you can get your meat from a butcher, your veggies from a green grocer and so on, so you can talk with the people selling and ask for food that has not been treated, so you can be sure it is clean.

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