Tons of food imported to the UK is being destroyed because of fears of contamination by stowaway migrants travelling from Europe in the back of lorries.
Food standard safety concerns means British supermarkets automatically reject any fresh goods driven over from Europe if there is evidence that migrants have been on board the vehicle.
However, in many cases, perfectly good food is being rejected as a precautionary measure. One supply chain specialist, Oakland International, has seen a ‘significant increase’ in the number of loads suspected of having come into contact with migrant passengers.
The firm’s co-founder has warned that this could be a consequence of the Government’s Rwanda policy – which will see migrants sent to the East African nation to claim asylum there – as stowaways are deterred from making sea crossings, and opt for lorries instead.
Oakland, which operates a service that handles rejected food imports, said the rise ‘seems to tie in to the major news about the Rwanda deportation announcements’.
Last year, Oakland handled 520 loads of stock subject to clandestine infiltration. It is currently handling 15 to 20 claims a week linked to migrants, and is expecting this figure to double later this year.
The firm estimates that around 70 trucks – carrying 1,400 tons of food – could be at risk each week.
Mr Attwell said: ‘Most of this stock for disposal consists of pallets where immigrants have sat on or “nested” to conceal themselves and protect themselves from the cold.’
A loss adjuster firm handling claims from food companies has also recorded a recent rise in complaints linked to clandestine infiltration of delivery trucks.
In one case, the door handles of a lorry carrying cheese products had apparently been tampered with.
The development comes as it was confirmed yesterday that more than 9,000 migrants have crossed the Channel since the beginning of the year.
The Ministry of Defence, which took control of the UK’s operations in the Channel last month, said 234 people arrived from northern France on Sunday.
It takes the total so far this year to 9,187, but does not include the estimated 200 people, including several women and small children, thought to have reached the UK yesterday.
Some 2,385 migrants have arrived in Britain so far this month, and the 9,187 figure was not reached until late July last year.
Last year saw a record 28,526 migrants cross the Channel – triple the number in 2020 – and one expert has warned that this year more than 100,000 could risk their lives making the dangerous crossing.