Iceland is one of the favorite tourist destinations for Spaniards, and given the difficulty of finding our star products there and the exorbitant price of food in the country, it's normal to wonder if you can bring Iberian cold cuts to Iceland.
The answer is no, and at Enrique Tomás, we will explain why.
Why You Can't Bring Cold Cuts to Iceland
The Iceland Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) is responsible for regulating the entry of food into Iceland, and according to law 25/1993, it's completely prohibited to bring in raw eggs, unpasteurized dairy products weighing more than one kilogram, and raw meats, including ham and all types of cold cuts. However, it's important to note that the controls upon arrival in the country are not very strict, so it won't be difficult to hear about someone who managed to bring these products in their suitcase.
Nevertheless, our recommendation is that if you're going to spend a few days there, don't take the risk. However, if you live on the island and don't want to give up our most exquisite delicacies, we recommend that you buy some vacuum-sealed packs of your favorite products and ask a family member or friend to send them to you. They will arrive in perfect condition!
That said, we've explained what to do to have ham or chorizo and salami in Iceland, but this doesn't mean you have to enter without any food in your suitcase. Small quantities of processed or cooked foods from the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes European Union countries along with Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein, are allowed to enter. So, if you want to reduce the cost of your trip, you can travel with cooked ham, small amounts of cheese, or canned tuna, among other foods.
When you see the price of food there, you'll be thankful!
Why Is This Prohibition in Place?
The reason for this prohibition is straightforward: to protect native products from potential diseases and, in order to preserve the island's uniqueness, Icelandic legislation is very strict regarding the importation of meat products, as well as fish and animals or pets. They are so demanding of their rules that, as an interesting fact, there is an Icelandic horse breed, the Icelandic horse, and once an individual is exported, it cannot return to the island to preserve the purity of the breed.
Regarding food, it's important to note that this regulation has existed for over 25 years, but it has gained more prominence in the last decade due to the surge in tourism to Iceland. In 2016, the number of tourists was five times greater than the country's population, reaching 1,767,726 visitors compared to 330,000 residents, according to El País newspaper.
The English, Americans, and Russians were the most frequent visitors to the island, while Spaniards ranked tenth. Given Iceland's success among our compatriots, it's natural that we would wonder if we can bring cold cuts to Iceland, but now that you know the answer is no, explore other options!