At the latest Tory hustings event on Wednesday, Boris Johnson went on a bizarre rant about the packaging of kippers, which he blamed on the EU.
The frontrunner for the Tory leadership and next prime minister used the fish as an example of European bureaucracy. He began his speech by saying:
I want you to consider this kipper, which has been presented to me just now by the editor of a national newspaper, who received it from a kipper smoker in the Isle of Man who is utterly furious because, after decades of sending kippers like this through the post, he has had his costs massively increased by Brussels bureaucrats who have insisted that each kipper must be accompanied by a plastic ice pillow.
Pointless, expensive, environmentally-damaging health and safety, ladies and gentlemen. When we come out, we will not only be able to take back control of our regulatory framework and end this damaging regulatory overkill, but we will also be able to do things to boost Britain’s economy, which leads the worlds in so many sectors.
However, Johnson's little stunt, which may have seemed amusing to his supporters and played up the eccentric character that he likes to publicly promote, has backfired upon him.
The are several problems with the claims that Johnson made - most notable that his so-called 'plastic ice pillow' is actually a rule imposed by the British government.
According to the Food Standards Agency the requirements for transporting food is as follows:
All foods must be delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that they do not become unsafe or unfit to eat. Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool while they are being transported. This may need to be packed in an insulated box with a coolant gel or in a cool bag.
Food sent by post needs to be sent to consumers in packaging that is strong enough to remain intact. Once sent, the food should be delivered as quickly as possible, ideally overnight. When the order is made, the consumer must be told when they can expect delivery.
For more information, we would recommend that you read this viral Twitter thread from Telegraph journalist James Crisp.
The European Union has since responded to Johnson's ramblings and branded them as 'fake news'.
The EU's food commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis lambasted Johnson in a series and also correctly pointed out that the Isle of Man isn't even part of the EU, thus rendering Johnson's complaint as 'pointless'.
Johnson could have avoided this embarrassment if he had simply looked up the Isle of Man's relationship with the EU, where if he had read this official government document would have learnt that the British Crown dependency receives and contributes nothing to the EU.
That being said, he most likely discovered this after searching for 'Isle of Man' on Twitter following his speech.