Vegan EU-compliant sandwiches to be handed to hauliers en route to continent

Hundreds of vegan sandwiches will be given to hauliers in the UK on Saturday, after drivers have had meat and cheese-based food confiscated by border officials on the continent due to post-Brexit rules. Under the new system which began on 1 January, people travelling from the UK are not allowed to take products of animal origin (POAO) into the EU. A driver who fell foul of this restriction was shown in a video earlier this month having ham sandwiches taken off him by a Dutch official.

In the footage, the driver begs the border guard to take the meat and leave the bread, only to receive the response: “No, everything will be confiscated – welcome to the Brexit, sir. I’m sorry.” Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), said: “This is a perfect example of Brexit legislation gone mad.

“What was once a simple ham and cheese sandwich is now classed as a personal import and is now prohibited. It’s ridiculous.”  To avoid situations like this, two food suppliers, LoveSeitan and Simply Lunch, are distributing sandwiches to lorry drivers in Kent from 9am until 3pm on Saturday.

Inside Politics newsletter

The latest news on Brexit, politics and beyond direct to your inbox every weekday

Inside Politics newsletter

The latest news on Brexit, politics and beyond direct to your inbox every weekday

The 500 EU-compliant meals will be handed out at Folkestone Rugby Club’s car park to drivers of vehicles under 7.5 tonnes and at two lay-bys on the A20 for those with heavier lorries.

Mr Burnett added that the RHA would like to see seitan, a meat substitute, given to hauliers “on all crossings to mainland Europe”.

Post-Brexit legislation, however, has led to more than just  the confiscation of food, including unexpected custom charges for EU customers buying goods imported from the UK.

Some UK retailers are even considering whether to abandon or burn products rejected by these customers, as it will be expensive to return them.

Adam Mansell, the chief of the UK Fashion & Textile Association, told the BBC that it is “cheaper for retailers to write off the cost of the goods than dealing with it all, either abandoning or potentially burning them”.