Dutch customs officials are warning British importers to have all of their veterinary health certificates in order if they want to bring meat products into Europe as a non-European country.
The British Meat Processors Association has said that alongside five containers of British pork stuck in Holland for two weeks, a lorry carrying pork livers has been refused entry.
Under Dutch rules, the importers have 90 days to sort out the problem before the products need to be sent back to their homeland or destroyed.
The Dutch NVWA Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority denied reports that British pork is rotting in Rotterdam harbour due to not being allowed into the country, but said it might not now be fit for human consumption.
A spokesperson for the NVWA explained: ‘In the last period, a number of transports of carcasses from the UK have arrived in Rotterdam without the correct documentation. The correct documents then need to be made for them in the UK, and experience tells us that this correction can sometimes take longer than the use-by-date of these products. If that happens, unfortunately, these transports are no longer suitable for human consumption. But we are certainly not talking about rotten meat.’
All papers need to be in order before goods can enter the EU, a spokesman for the Dutch customs service added: ‘In the EU, veterinary papers always need to be present alongside the products. The customs service just checks if all papers are in order and if they are, then the goods can go through. But if certain papers are not in order, then they can’t.
‘From a customs perspective, containers cannot stay in the harbour for more than 90 days. Then they need to go back or to be destroyed. This almost never happens – if you have to keep chilled container cold for 90 days, all your profit evaporates…so companies don’t let that happen.’
A spokesman for the Dutch border police also told DutchNews.nl that lorries going to Britain are subject to intensive checks to stop people being smuggled abroad in order to enter the UK illegally.