In which countries are non-vegetables prohibited?

High fines for Swiss people who bring fruit, vegetables and the like from their vacation

Anyone who brings plants, fruits, vegetables and seeds from vacation in the future could collect a large fine. Without a certificate, these are no longer allowed to be imported into Switzerland from non-EU countries.

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Since the beginning of the year, plants, fruits and seeds are no longer allowed to be brought back to Switzerland from vacation. For example, if you want to import exotic fruit that comes from a non-EU country, you have to show a phytosanitary certificate.

The Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) points this out in a current Facebook post. "The import of plants, fruits, vegetables, cut flowers and seeds from non-EU countries is prohibited," the clip reads. The FOAG also provides the reason for the new rule: No dangerous pests or diseases should be introduced.

Importing parts of plants into Switzerland: what is allowed and what is not?

However, there are also some exceptions. Pineapples, bananas, dates, durians and coconuts may be imported, as well as plants and living parts of plants with a phytosanitary certificate.

When entering the country, you are then checked at customs by the Federal Plant Protection Service (EPSD), as the FOAG writes on its website. In any case, high-risk goods are prohibited, including potatoes, earth and citrus leaves.

How do I apply for a phytosanitary certificate?

Holidaymakers must apply for the phytosanitary certificate from the plant protection service of the exporting country. Often, however, there is only one office in a country that is not necessarily located in a holiday resort, as "20min.ch" reports. So it can take some time to obtain such a testimony.

The inspection of the goods and the issuing of the certificate require additional time. Depending on the goods and requirements, the effort in the recipient country varies, says Jonathan Fisch, media spokesman for the FOAG. A visual check may be sufficient, but in other cases a supplementary laboratory analysis may be necessary. "It is also possible that the product has to be checked and analyzed in the field during production," explains Fisch.

"The creation of a phytosanitary certificate costs between fifty and several hundred francs," continues Fisch. When returning to Switzerland, you have to take the red exit for travelers with goods to be registered. There you show the certificate and the goods.

High fines for violations

If you only notice at the airport that you have goods with you that require a phytosanitary certificate, you should also go to the red customs exit. "There you have the opportunity to dispose of the goods free of charge," explains the media spokesman.

Anyone who does not adhere to the regulations collects a large fine. "In the event of violations of the implementing provisions, fines up to a maximum of CHF 10,000 can be levied," says Fisch. However, he adds: "If it is a misdemeanor out of ignorance, there is basically no burden."

Controls at airports

Plant health law came into force on January 1, 2020. At Zurich and Geneva airports, it is particularly common for travelers to want to import prohibited goods, says Simon Erny, media spokesman for the Federal Customs Administration (FCA).

Travelers with intercontinental flights from third countries arrive at these airports. Fruits, vegetables and co. That do not comply with the current regulations would be confiscated. Since the beginning of the year, controls to ensure compliance with the new regulations have been intensified. © 1 & 1 Mail & Media / spot on news

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