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Bringing spices back to the UK

Walsall, United...
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Bringing spices back to the UK

Can anyone tell me if I would be allowed to bring back spices to the UK?

1. Re: Bringing spices back to the UK

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Marrakech, Morocco
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2. Re: Bringing spices back to the UK

Spices are fine, either loose or packaged. Having said that quality control can be better in UK supermarkets and the prices not much different. I would make an exception for saffron though. Buy loose as prepackaged can easily be adulterated with turmeric (or worse). Other exceptions (although they can also be found in some specialist outlets) are the famous Moroccan spice mixtures of ras el hanout (head of the shop) and chermoula.

England, United...
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3. Re: Bringing spices back to the UK

Hi

I regularly bring back spices for my own use however I now buy the pre-packed branded ones in the supermarket rather than the loose spices from the souk, they look lovely on display but are open to everything in the air. The last time I bought souk spices I had a surprise when I undid the bags and all these little 'beasties' jumped into the air, so I had to put everything in the bin.

Manchester
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4. Re: Bringing spices back to the UK

Unlike John W, I have never been stopped by H.M.customs though I always bring back spices and other Moroccan food specialities. I do find though that loose spices do not stay fresh for too long, so have learnt to only bring small quantities back.

Back in the days when airlines where not nearly as strict on weight, I use to end up at the airport with exceptionally large water melon, beautiful mountain cheeses, and the gorgeous roped little onions available only in August from the Rif mountains, and always a magnificent bouquet of flowers, all presents from my Moroccan friends who seemed to be totally unaware that transporting theses goods could be a problem, but R.A.M B.A. and Monarch never refused, and in fact use to store them for me on the plane, though that was in the good old days, I doubt if I would receive the same service now.

Marrakech, Morocco
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5. Re: Bringing spices back to the UK

You are right tangergirl, you would never get away with it now! The key to buying loose spices (as opposed to packaged which could be years old) is as you say to buy little and often. If this is not possible then here a few tips. Choose a supplier in an area known for this trade and which has a rapid turnover of stock. In Marrakech the best that I have found, degs62, is in the Mellah, particularly the shop at its entrance. Freezing spices helps preserve them and does not result in a loss of flavour, while a 60 second blast in a microwave oven on high sterilises them as well.

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Mellah
Mellah
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Marrakech, Morocco
Athens, Greece
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6. Re: Bringing spices back to the UK

Agree with pilobolus, loose spices have completely different flavour, than prepacked ones. I buy spices whole, then ground them for powder, and the aroma is overwhelming. Keeps well in closed jars for months, and months.

norfolk
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7. Re: Bringing spices back to the UK

but do be aware - some whole spices are seeds, and as such, should be declared at the customs point on re-entry to the eu. in practice, you are usually allowed to keep them once you have confirmed you are not going to grow them.

in addition, there are restrictions in place regarding the import of chilli, paprika and turmeric, in amounts which are not considered 'for personal use', because some of these products have suffered aldulteration with colouring products, either deliberate or accidental. this would be important if they were to be used in a catering business, for instance.

so it is not possible to categorically say 'it is ok' in all cases. if in doubt, go through the red channel and ask.

pam

Marrakech, Morocco
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8. Re: Bringing spices back to the UK

Not quite correct. While many spices (after all a generic term) are seeds (and others are not, roots, rhizomes, bark and fruits are examples) many have have been treated in a variety of ways which make them non-viable and therefore fine for importation to the UK.

norfolk
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9. Re: Bringing spices back to the UK

i stick to my guns. if you are in any doubt, go through the red channel and declare them. the worst that can happen is you will lose some of your spices.

as pilobolus says, many seeds are non-viable. but how you would be certain of this, i don't know.. please don't tell me you would simply rely on the word of the merchant!

at the end of the day, it is YOU, not us, who is going through customs. you are the one carrying the risk...

10. Re: Bringing spices back to the UK

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Removed on: 9:04 am, October 29, 2013