UK lorry drivers face Brexit ban on ham-and-cheese sandwiches

The British government warned that bringing into the EU foods that contain meat or dairy, even for personal use, will be forbidden.
The British government warned that bringing into the EU foods that contain meat or dairy, even for personal use, will be forbidden.PHOTO: UNSPLASH

LONDON (AFP) - British lorry drivers crossing the Channel next month will face a new regulation that may be hard to swallow: a ban on ham-and-cheese sandwiches, the UK government has warned.

The government gave the example of the popular sandwich filling in guidance for hauliers issued on Friday (Dec 18), warning that bringing into the European Union (EU) foods that contain meat or dairy, even for personal use, will be forbidden.

The rule is intended to prevent the entry of foods that could spread diseases. It will apply not just to lorry drivers, but to everyone leaving Britain for the EU.

This is one of the new rules that will enter force when Britain leaves the customs union and the EU single market at 2300 GMT on Dec 31 (midnight Brussels time, 7am Jan 1 Singapore time), after a transition period when old rules for imports and exports still applied.

Failing to declare foods like ham-and-cheese sandwiches and hand them over for disposal could lead to a fine or criminal prosecution, according to the EU's advice leaflet.

The ban on such snacks comes despite the EU allowing imports for personal use of up to 20kg of fresh fish or lobster.

Meat extracts and meat concentrates are also allowed, meaning that another British favourite Bovril, a meat extract paste used to make a drink, should be acceptable.

British lorry drivers will also face more significant hurdles: new border controls that are expected to cause severe congestion around ports and a mass of new red tape including permits to enter the county of Kent, where the ferry port of Dover is located.

Britain and the EU have still not managed to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with stumbling blocks including fishing rights.