Dutch officials were filmed laughing while confiscating a British lorry driver’s ham sandwiches due to post-Brexit import rules.
A clip on TV in the Netherlands shows border staff taking lunch and other foods from truckers while joking: ‘Welcome to Brexit, sir.’
The driver is heard in the background, pleading: ‘Can you take the meat and leave me the bread?’
The EU forbids meat, meat products, milk or dairy products to be brought in from countries outside the union for ‘personal consumption’.
Now the UK has left the EU, this means lorry drivers crossing the Channel will now mostly have to buy food in the countries they are travelling to rather than bringing it from home.
‘Since Brexit you are longer allowed certain foods to Europe,’ one border official at the Hook of Holland sea port told Netherlands’ NPO television.
The footage shows officers rooting through people’s vehicles and holding up any food they find within, saying it will have to be confiscated.
But this strict stance on the newly imposed rules has been slammed as ‘pathetic nit-picking’ by a leading Brexiteer.
Dutch border officials laugh as they confiscate a driver’s lunch while joking: ‘Welcome to Brexit’ (Picture: Avrotros)
The driver is heard in the background, pleading: ‘Can you take the meat and leave me the bread?’ (Picture: Avrotros)
Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, told MailOnline: ‘The whole story smacks of one sandwich short of a picnic, literally.
‘As the Dutch know as well as everyone else in the EU we have the highest food standards in Europe.
‘Is this is going to be the way it is then? Are they really going to go through a lorry driver’s lunchbox going through customs, for something that is causing any danger?
‘We need to talk to the European Union about what is really quite pathetic nit-picking. Otherwise this will not be good for the Dutch ports, hauliers will go somewhere else.’
Before becoming an MP, Eurosceptic Mr Bridgen worked in the food industry for 22 years.
Mark Francois, Chairman of parliament’s European Research Group, said: ‘This is pettifogging bureaucracy gone mad.
‘The EU have always worried that a dynamic, free-trading UK, outside the EU, would eventually eat their lunch on world markets, so now they are retaliating by trying to steal our truckers’ lunches instead! It’s pathetic really.’
Caption: ’Welcome to the Brexit’: travellers have ham sandwiches confiscated due to transport of food rules
Guidance from the UK Government for drivers travelling to EU countries states: ‘From 1 January 2021 you will not be able to bring POAO (products of an animal origin) such as those containing meat or dairy (e.g. a ham and cheese sandwich) into the EU.’
It comes as problems at the Port of Dover are expected to escalate as border controls with France are stepped up from this week.
The number of trucks going through the Channel Tunnel is expected to rise to normal levels – around 6,000 trucks a day – after a New Year lull, and there could be huge backlogs.
Freight expert John Shirley said: ‘The chaos has begun. Organising even the simplest load to Europe has become an almost impossible task due to the mountain of red tape brought in on January 1.’
Rod McKenzie, managing director for policy at the Road Haulage Association, said: ‘Drivers are being turned back for a variety of reasons, including not having a valid Covid test. At the same time, they are being told the paperwork has not been done satisfactorily.
‘The French have had a relatively light touch on enforcement so far, but they won’t from Monday.’
Cabinet minister Michael Gove added: ‘In the weeks ahead, we expect there will be significant additional disruption.’
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