By Phyllis O'Dell, Seattle, WA
One of our daughters with PKU, Kelly (age 21), recently spent a semester of college in London. When Kelly left for London she took some formula with her. We also shipped some, and brought along more when we visited.
During the weekends, Kelly traveled to other European countries. There was never a problem with Customs in England or during Kelly’s weekend trips.
Kelly planned on spending six weeks traveling through Europe at the end of her London semester. We shipped formula to Rome when Kelly was due to be there. Unfortunately, Italian Customs held the formula for two weeks and created a multitude of problems for Kelly. Customs wanted a copy of Kelly's prescription, as well as a copy of her passport. They wanted Kelly to go to an Italian doctor to be diagnosed and asked her to purchase different formula from an Italian supplier. In the meantime, I was trying to liberate the formula, often making phone calls in the middle of the night because of the time difference. I finally found some success after I contacted the American embassy in Rome, and faxed them all of the necessary information. Embassy officials were instrumental in obtaining the release of the formula.
As a result of this experience, I would recommend that people contact the local American Embassy ahead of time and ship the formula to them, if possible.