You can take a man’s dignity. You can take a man’s allegiance to the European Union. But, by God, don’t you dare take a man’s sandwich. Alas, that’s exactly what’s happening in a post-Brexit Europe, where a Dutch television network captured border officials seizing food—including meaty, meaty sandwiches—from travelers entering the Netherlands from the UK.
CNN reposted video of the incident, which originally aired on Dutch public broadcaster NPO 1. In the clip, a British driver rolls into an international ferry terminal in Hoek van Holland, foil-wrapped sandwich in hand. Dutch officials tell the driver to ditch the sandwich, at which point the driver asks Dutch officials he can keep the bread and relinquish the meat (???). One official replies: “No, everything will be confiscated. Welcome to the Brexit, sir, I’m sorry.”
Here’s why the sandwich could not enter Europe: During Brexit, the UK left the EU’s single market and customs union. Before Brexit, travelers and commercial drivers could cross the border without going through customs checks, but now anyone crossing the border is subject to inspection. This means travelers are prohibited from bringing “products of an animal origin”—ham and cheese sandwiches or, you know, haggis—into the EU. The Dutch customs agency explained the restrictions on Instagram, writing: “Typical products like cheddar, clotted cream, and Scottish haggis will then no longer be allowed with you.” According to the European Commission, personal goods containing animal products can contain “dangerous pathogens that cause animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease and classical swine fever.” In essence, British citizens are left to scarf down their meat while surrounded by tight, restrictive border. Wait—is Britain a sandwich?