Note the implication of this

Lorry drivers will be banned from taking a ham and cheese sandwich or other meat and dairy products from the UK into the EU from 1 January, even if it is just to eat while driving, UK government officials have said.

Personal imports of certain products of animal origin will be prohibited from 11pm on 31 December, a ban which will also apply to tourists travelling to the EU.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs advised transport representatives of the ban this week and gave the specific example in its updated guidance of an ordinary sandwich.

“From 1 January 2021 you will not be able to bring POAO (products of animal origin) such as those containing meat or dairy (eg a ham and cheese sandwich) into the EU,” the official guidance states.

These are the rules that already apply to the Romania/Moldova border, the Ukraine/Poland one.

The entire might of the governance of 500 million people is applied to stopping a lorry driver bringing in a ham sandwich.

Aren’t we lucky we’re leaving such a system?

35 thoughts on “Note the implication of this”

  1. I’m not defending the eu but is this all that different from trying to bring a similar sandwich into a US airport?

    Memories of my surreal interrogation when attempting to bring my nephew a battenberg cake are still fresh in my mind. And as for trying to explain to a humourless border agent what was in a Christmas pudding…….

  2. Steve across the Pond

    Let me see if I get this. It’s perfectly fine to take a ham sandwich from the UK into the EU now. But on a magical date, said ham sandwich becomes a threat to biosecurity?

    Literally nothing is changing, except that the EU is butthurt that a country no longer wants to live under its control.

    Curious. Does the EU prevent refugees and migrants from bringing threatening food items into Europe?

  3. Steve across the Pond

    @John Lewis

    Try to bring a Kinder Egg in and you’ll be met with numerous assault rifles in your face. But something tells me those dangerous items aren’t destroyed.

  4. Like I said on the other thread, there’s already been a large notice at Dover Port detailing all the food products one was not supposed to take across the Channel*, for years. So is this about additions to the list or just another one of those Brexit scare stories Remainers like to revel in?

    *How serious people took it, I don’t know. Personally, it was just another thing to ignore.

  5. During a foot and mouth crisis a few years ago, German police were stopping Dutch coaches full of pensioners on day trips and confiscating their sandwiches.

    Try getting into Aus or NZ with something dodgy. Even mud on your boots is suspect.

  6. If we’d cared about the rule that much we could have challenged it through our elected representatives in the EU parliament and EU Council.

    Instead we triumphantly chose to be both subject to and pretty much* unable to influence it.

    I can practically feel the newfound sovereignty coursing through my veins like so much metabolized Carrefour jambon.

    * – could always threaten them with the Royal Navy, I suppose.

  7. There have always been big notices about not importing/exporting plants. It doesn’t seem to stop people buying clogloads of tulip bulbs in Amsterdam

  8. If we’d cared about the rule that much we could have challenged it through our elected representatives in the EU parliament and EU Council.

    And we’d have been as successful as Cameron was begging for crumbs to sell as a reason to vote remain.

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    On one of my flights in to Dallas a woman had given her pushchair bound toddler an apple to keep it amused as we queued at immigration, despite warnings about importing fruit announcements on the plane.

    When an immigration/customs officer saw the apple she we ballistic, shouting and screaming and then another couple turned and took the woman and toddler away. I never did find out what happened to them.

  10. Last minute rule* making. An embarrassment to your once proud nation.

    I feel bad for all the businesses left in the lurch. I presume the dragging out of leave/stay has left them unable to plan. Ham sandwiches are minute compared to all the other things that could happen.

    *Why is this a rule, and not just helpful advice? Why would UK ban export of ham sandwiches? Still feel connected with EU?

  11. @GC

    You’re missing the point. It’s phytosanitary rules, same as would stop you walking through your nearest international airport carrying meat products in from Furrin. And it isn’t the UK barring their export, it’s that the EU bars them from entry. See https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/customs-controls/safety-health-environment-customs-controls/sanitary-phytosanitary-requirements_en

    Though rather contrary to Timmy’s point that this shows something singularly absurd or vindictive about the EU, far as I can see this kind of regulation is de rigeur, at least at borders of developed nations, and presumably the UK is going to be imposing similar rules on imports from the EU? Internal borders within the EU have been an exception precisely because both sides formed part of a common area under phytosanitary regulations – part of the point of the UK leaving is so that it can, if it wants, apply its own regulations and so it is no surprise this means any previous exemption gets dropped.

    The very strong reactions against oranges and apples cited above make a lot of sense as imported fruit can be a vector for nasty plant pathogens which could have really considerable economic harm attached. As for what damage a cheese sandwich could do, I have no idea.

  12. In practical terms, if I’m driving the kids to a campsite in France, this means I have to buy weird French foods instead of bringing stuff I know my kids will eat. *sigh*

  13. What if the driver has eaten his ham and cheese sandwich just before leaving? Will there be emetics? Will drivers be allowed to use lavatories in the EU?

    The clowns can’t stop illegal drugs and illegal immigrants, but ham and cheese sandwiches?

  14. @John B “The clowns can’t stop illegal drugs and illegal immigrants, but ham and cheese sandwiches?”

    It’s not that they can’t it’s that they don’t want to in the case of illegal immigrants – you know the vibrancy and diversity (so diverse that most seem to be from the religion of headchoppers)

  15. We can expect a fair number of Huffing and Puffing from the chairwarming Rules Departments of both sides for the near future.
    This’ll last until gramma and grampa get nabbed for a slice of bacon and there’s a shitstorm in the media.

  16. Today and for many past decades it has been illegal to bring oranges into California from Arizona. There are inspection stations on the CA side of the border and all vehicles must stop. The inspector usually just asks if you have any fruit and if you say “No” he waves you through, but they have the legal right (almost never enforced) to deny entry if you refuse inspection.
    (If you do have oranges they are confiscated.)

  17. Today and for many past decades it has been illegal to bring oranges into California from Arizona…

    Same from Oregon (and given the importance of agriculture to California, probably from everywhere). There used to be a large inspection station on the I-5 just inside California. Several decades ago they stopped staffing it – I don’t know whether there was a re-thinking of policy, budget prioritization, or what. Eventually, they knocked it down. Maybe higher volume of traffic (or fruit-bearing traffic) from Arizona justifies keeping that one in operation, but not the Oregon one?

  18. “You’re missing the point. It’s phytosanitary rules, same as would stop you walking through your nearest international airport carrying meat products in from Furrin.”

    Phyto means plant, Mr Genius.

  19. “And it isn’t the UK barring their export”

    Which part of this says EU, Mr Genius?

    ‘ Lorry drivers will be banned from taking a ham and cheese sandwich or other meat and dairy products from the UK into the EU from 1 January, even if it is just to eat while driving, UK government officials have said.

    Personal imports of certain products of animal origin will be prohibited from 11pm on 31 December, a ban which will also apply to tourists travelling to the EU.

    The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs advised transport representatives of the ban this week and gave the specific example in its updated guidance of an ordinary sandwich.

    “From 1 January 2021 you will not be able to bring POAO (products of animal origin) such as those containing meat or dairy (eg a ham and cheese sandwich) into the EU,” the official guidance states.’

  20. @GC

    Yes, good pendantry there. “Phyto-” means “plant”. The full name is “sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirement”. In the Brexit debate it’s been quite common to abbreviate to “phytosanitary” rather than “SPS”.

    For EU rules on import of POAO see https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/customs-controls/safety-health-environment-customs-controls/sanitary-phytosanitary-requirements_en which is ultimately where the “you will not be able to bring POAO (products of animal origin) such as those containing meat or dairy (eg a ham and cheese sandwich) into the EU” bit comes from.

  21. “Aren’t we lucky we’re leaving such a system?”

    I recall Tim saying he would be happy with WTO rules, but you might not get that. “Level playing field” and all that. In which case you’re not really leaving at all if you accept the “ratchet mechanism”.

    But’s it’s worse than that, because if the UK agrees with the “ratchet mechanism”, then the UK has to abide by rules set by the EU, but it doesn’t have a seat at the table in making those rules.

  22. I thought we were leaving. Why would anyone want to go there? And in any case, they weem to want our fish, so why not our ham and cheese?

  23. Many decades ago (long before we had joined the EU)I was returning from a European camping holiday with my parents.My mother had bought a pack of tulip bulbs in Amsterdam and declared them to Customs on reentry at Dover.Cue much pursing of lips, shaking of head and talk of importing all sorts of nasties into the country.He was about to confiscate the bulbs when my father asked if he also wanted our wooden tent pegs.”Why would I do that?”, was his question.”Because they have been hammered into the same ground the bulbs were grown in”, said my father. The Customs Officer gave a big sigh and we left complete with our bulbs.

  24. “But’s it’s worse than that, because if the UK agrees with the “ratchet mechanism”, then the UK has to abide by rules set by the EU, but it doesn’t have a seat at the table in making those rules.”

    The “seat at the table” for such rules was largely illusory anyway – UK was never in a position to block anything. Sure there was the veto on some big things, but the small things? Nah. Not in the slightest. Not even when they specifically targeted a British company by name, such as this (search for “bowland” and you get to the relevant part): https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=OJ:L:2006:283:FULL&from=EN

  25. So after losing the unrestricted freedom to seek work, live or retire in the 27 countries that make up the EU, our author is now upset that his putative lorry driver cannot carry a sandwich across the border. Nice to see where one’s priorities lie!

  26. Some years ago, I had several jars of Marmite (similar to Vegemite but tastier) seized by customs at Sydney airport apparently, not only because it was a foreign made foodstuff, but the customs officer said he would not want the delicate palates of Australians to be damaged. This was from a representative of a country which produced the Skippy Pizza and the Aussie 8 course dinner – 7 pints of lager and a meat pie!

  27. “which is ultimately where the “you will not be able to bring POAO (products of animal origin) such as those containing meat or dairy (eg a ham and cheese sandwich) into the EU” bit comes from.”

    You completely miss the point. These are BRITISH rules. They could say, “The blokes on the other side won’t let you bring in a ham sandwich,” but they don’t. Instead, they say, “You can’t take a ham sandwich with you.”

    Again, as if they still have allegiance to the EU.

  28. You don’t think it’s helpful at a border crossing to point out some of the local differences you will encounter on the other side? It’s like reminding people that they’ll need to drive on the wrong side of the road.

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