Diseases such as foot-and-mouth can be brought into Northern Ireland through infected animal products (particularly those containing meat or milk).
Fruit and vegetables may also carry pests that can infect plants. Such diseases and pests can have a devastating effect on livestock, crops, or the environment.
Animal-related products may also risk human health from diseases, residues or contaminants (for example, from fish, honey or untreated animal hides).
There are rules on what holidaymakers can and can't bring back with them from their trip.
For example, it is illegal to bring in meat or dairy products from outside the EU. People travelling through local ports or airports should check the rules on food and plant imports before they leave home.
Personal imports of meat or meat products and milk or dairy products are banned from most countries outside the EU. There are also strict controls on bringing the following products:
- eggs and egg products
- certain fruit and vegetables
The same rules apply whether you are bringing these food items into Northern Ireland yourself, if a friend or a relative is bringing them as a gift, or if they are sent in the post.
Illegal products will be seized and destroyed, and anyone caught carrying prohibited items risks prosecution and a fine.
You can find out more in this section:
To keep illegal imports of animals, animal products and plant products, including fish, meat and vegetables out, there is inspection at all main ports and airports.