Mate is a traditional South American infusion, which is not common and usually expensive in Europe. I'm travelling to France soon so I'm taking a bunch of it (the yerba mates leaves, not a liquid) for friends, and friends of friends. I'm wondering if this will make my luggage look extremely suspicious, and perhaps cause me to experience a delay while they check it or something.

I have previously taken a couple kilograms without any issue, but this time it would be about half of my case :).

UPDATE: I ended up taking 6kg, along with 6 bottles of wine/liquors and absolutely nothing happened :).

  • 10 liters of liquid in your luggage will attract attention...
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 24 '19 at 17:02
  • 3
    It's not liquid! It's a herb, much like tea.
    – Guido
    Sep 24 '19 at 17:03
  • 5
    It may depend on whether your country has some arrangement with France about phyto security. The quantity you mention might be considered for commercial use which might not be allowed without a certificate but I am not an expert in this area.
    – mdewey
    Sep 24 '19 at 17:42

The import of plants or plant parts into the European Union may be restricted or prohibited if listed as:

  • Invasive
  • Likely to carry pests or pathogens
  • Endangered
  • Narcotic

None of this applies to yerba mate, Ilex paraguariensis. Plants for which no restrictions apply do not have to be declared, unless the total value of imported goods exceeds duty and tax free allowances.


You may be subject to an inspection an questioning, due to suspicions.

Provided to you:

  • Act in a calm manner
  • Explain why you are carrying out
  • Abide with local custom laws and regulations
  • Let them search your luggage

You should expect a possible bag search, even them analysing it. Also bear in mind of recent drug stories in France like this one, so a delay of an hour should not surprise you.

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