Sandwich controls were imposed yesterday on all British travelers arriving in German airports.

"All uneaten on-board lunches found on aircraft from London are being taken away and incinerated," German officials said. In Frankfurt and Munich customs officers searched baggage using rubber gloves, and aircraft were combed by cleaning teams wearing protective clothing. 

Germany was acting yesterday as if it were under siege. At airports, leaflets in German and English were handed out ordering passengers with animal products, or anyone who had entered a British farm in the past two weeks, to approach a customs officer. 

Spain has slaughtered 540 British pigs. Belgium has banned animal markets and is trying to trace 2,000 sheep recently imported from Britain. France is carefully monitoring 20,000 sheep imported from Britain this month. 

Nick Brown, the Agriculture Minister, flew to Brussels last night to brief his EU counterparts in Brussels on the situation in Britain. 

Joyce Quin, the Minister of State, said: "There is widespread recognition we have put in place effective measures." Her words were endorsed by the European Commission before the meeting began. "The Commission is satisfied with the measures taken by the United Kingdom," a spokeswoman said. 

The Commission urged member states to trace all livestock shipments from Britain over the past three weeks as soon as possible. There is rising alarm at the possibility that foot-and-mouth disease may have spread across the Channel. Germany and Holland have begun slaughtering animals recently imported from Britain as a precautionary measure. North Rhine-Westphalia ordered the slaughter and burning of 350 sheep from two farms, one of which had bought sheep originating from an English farm infected with foot-and-mouth disease. 

Irate farmers protested in Brussels yesterday as European Union agriculture ministers met to discuss BSE and foot-and-mouth disease. The farmers blocked all roads leading to the EU’s headquarters with tractors, built fires, and pelted riot police with stones, bottles and firecrackers. Police surrounded the headquarters and repelled the demonstrators with water cannon. 

The farmers were demanding help for beef producers facing economic ruin since "mad cow" disease was found on the Continent last year. But a spokesman for the Commission said that its "pockets are empty."