‘Taste of Africa’ events help raise awareness of the Personal Food Imports
Taste of Africa’ events help raise awareness of the Personal Food Imports campaign within the African community Check the rules about personal food imports before you travel - this was the message to members of the African community attending one of a series of local
‘Taste of Africa’ events held across London over the last Saturday.
The first ‘Taste of Africa’ event took place on the 20th February at The Copleston Centre in Peckham. Designed to highlight the rules surrounding personal food imports and timed to make people aware of the rules in the weeks prior to peak Easter holiday travel season, the event was a great success.
Local residents were given a short presentation by campaign ambassador Dr Anna Vanderpuye, on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), about the Personal Food Imports campaign, which aims to increase awareness amongst travellers about the rules on what food products can and can’t be brought back into the United Kingdom (UK) from countries outside the EU. During the event, attendees also had the opportunity to engage with Dr. Vanderpuye and Defra representatives, and to ask questions about the campaign and the current restrictions on food items.
An array of West African food was laid out for all to sample, supplied by local restaurant The Gold Coast in South Norwood. Yaw Akuffo, of the Gold Coast, said: “Whilst bringing food back is a habit of many in the community, it is important to understand the personal inconvenience and financial loss you will face when your goods are seized by Border Force Officers. I have personally witnessed this and it causes a lot of embarrassment.
Many foods are available to us locally, so there is just no need to bring them in from abroad.” It is illegal to bring meat and dairy products for personal use back into the UK from countries outside the EU and there are restrictions on bringing back fish, shellfish, honey, eggs and certain types of fruits and vegetables.
Dr Anna Vanderpuye said: “We need to work together to ensure that every member of the African community travelling home for a holiday is aware that they could be breaking the law if they bring food items back into the UK.” The same rules apply whether these food items are intended for personal use, as a gift, or sent in the post. If the item is banned, or is in an amount greater than allowed, the whole quantity will be seized and destroyed.
Dr Anna continued: "I would urge everyone to double check the rules before they leave the UK. Many people simply do not understand the rules. You will face delays, the illegal items will be seized, you will have wasted your time and money, and on top of it all, you may face the shame of prosecution.”
The next ‘Taste of Africa’ events will take place on the 27th February at The Hub in Stonebridge and Broadwater Farm Community Centre in Tottenham, from 4pm to 7pm.