'Welcome to the Brexit': Dutch border guards confiscate sandwiches from British drivers

Nellie Chapman
January 13, 2021

"Welcome to the Brexit sir, I'm sorry", says the smirking border official at the Hook of Holland.

In a segment aired on public broadcaster NPO 1, officials are shown explaining to a driver arriving at Hoek van Holland, home to an worldwide ferry terminal: "Since Brexit, you are no longer allowed to take food to Europe, like meats, fruits, vegetables, fishes - those kinds of stuff".

The driver in question later asked if he could keep the bread if he took off the meat from his sandwiches.

A British driver was forced to hand over a unusual item to custom officials when crossing the border into the Netherlands this week.

The paper goes on to refer to the Netherlands as a "drugs smugglers paradise" while commenters remind the Dutch about how the British airdropped food while they were starving towards the end of World War II.

"Now look, at this moment the volumes, like you saw, we're pretty small this morning - 30 cars", Rien de Ruijter, Customs team leader told the TV channel.

The Mirror, Sun and even the Guardian have carried reports about the ham sandwiches being confiscated.

The post-Brexit trade deal agreed with the European Union late a year ago meant that workers from some professions would be able to continue to travel on business without the need to apply for a visa for such a trip.

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Following the end of the Brexit transition new border controls are now in place in the European Union which prevents drivers and travellers from bringing in dairy and meat.

Pictured: The driver's ham sandwiches, wrapped in foil.

The EU does not permit the importation of such foods for personal consumption, and the rules are being enforced especially since Brexit became a reality at the start of this month.

Brexit travel rules, which came into force on 1 January, do not guarantee visa-free travel for tours involving any of the EU's 27 member states.

"Since 1 January, you can't just bring more food from the UK", Dutch customs said in a statement.

This is discredited by The Independent's source, who told the publication: "The UK refused to agree because they said they were ending freedom of movement". It adds that "dangerous pathogens that cause animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease and classical swine fever can reside in meat, milk or their products".

But while travelers having their lunches seized might be annoying, the real impacts of Brexit are being felt by businesses.

Passengers carrying unauthorized meat and dairy products can be fined or prosecuted under rules that warn against "confiscation and destruction" of any of these products.

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