If you’re wondering if you can bring cheese on a plane, the answer is yes, though it ultimately depends on your point of departure and destination.
Simply put, if you’re traveling domestically within the USA or on international flights from the USA to Canada and Mexico, you are allowed to bring cheese in either your carry-on or checked baggage.
If you are departing from the USA or another non-EU country and want to bring cheese into the EU or the UK, you will not be able to do so.
Let’s take a closer look at the regulations when it comes to bringing cheese on a plane, including the difference between carrying and traveling with hard cheese and soft cheese.
Bringing Cheese on a Plane – Domestic Flights vs. International Flights
USA (Domestic Flights)
- Solid Cheese: According to the TSA, you can bring solid cheese in both your carry on and checked baggage.
- Soft (Creamy) Cheese: According to the TSA, you can bring soft cheese in both your carry on and checked baggage. However, if you plan to store it in your carry on baggage, then it must be less than or equal to 3.4oz/100ml. It is recommended that you separate the cheese to avoid decluttering and ease the screening process and to keep the lines moving.
USA (International Flights)
While you must follow the rules stated above for carrying cheese in either your checked or carry on baggage when departing from the USA and traveling internationally, you also need to consider your destination country and any customs rules it may have.
One thing to note is that this only applies if you intend to bring the cheese into the country you are traveling to, not if you consume all the cheese during the flight before arriving at your destination.
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, If traveling from the USA or any other country into Canada, you are allowed to carry up to 20 kg of cheese per person.
According to gob.mx, which is the national portal for government services and information, if traveling from the USA, Canada, the UK, and several other authorized countries, you are allowed to bring cheese into Mexico.
However, you are only allowed to bring up to 3 kg per family. Also note that fresh cheeses are prohibited.
According to europa.eu, which is the official website of the European Union, if you are traveling from a country in the European Union to another country in the European Union, you are allowed to bring cheese on a plane in an amount that is for your own personal consumption.
If you are traveling from a non-EU country into the EU, you are not allowed to bring any dairy products, including cheese.
According to the UK Border Agency, if you are traveling from a country outside the EU into the UK (except for Croatia, the Faroe Islands, Greenland or Iceland), you are not allowed to bring in any dairy products including cheese. If not, you are allowed to bring cheese on a plane for personal consumption.
What to Know About Bringing Cheese Through Airport Security
Bringing cheese through airport security is allowed and should therefore be a breeze as long as you follow a few guidelines.
- TSA officers recommend that you separate food items such as cheese, as it can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine
- It’s best if the cheese is in its original packaging. If not, make sure that you wrap or place it in a resealable bag or container with a secure lid
- If traveling with soft cheese, make sure that it is less than or equal to 3.4oz/100ml
How Long Will Cheese Last In Your Luggage?
The last thing you want is to get the all clear to bring cheese onto a plane and back home, only to find out that it has spoiled when you arrive.
Generally, hard cheeses such as cheddar or aged Gouda will last 6-8 hours at room temperature. Soft cheeses such as Camembert and Brie will last 2-4 hours at room temperature.
It can therefore be a good idea to bring ice or a frozen gel pack with you to store your cheese, especially if you will fly long-haul.