The UK's meat levy boards are planning a raft of promotional and marketing initiatives to regain valuable export markets following the recent lifting of FMD export restrictions.

EBLEX is running a programme of promotions through supermarkets in Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Holland and France to encourage the continent to buy more English lamb.

Further forms of promotion and export development, such as trade shows and outward missions, are already under way in a range of other other EU countries.

EBLEX Export Marketing Manager Jean-Pierre Garnier said: "There is a relatively strong demand for our quality lamb on the continent, and this is helped as we approach the festive season. So we are almost pushing at an open door.

"One of the last pieces of the jigsaw is now in place as a decision easing the conditions on the export of live animals has now been adopted."

A similar strategy is planned to boost beef sales in Europe. In addition to trade shows and outward missions, EBLEX will organise inward missions to promote the benefits of UK beef production systems.

"There is a lot of trade work over and above the trade shows. We are holding meetings and inward missions with potential buyers and journalists from EU countries so that they can learn how beef is raised in this country and see the extensive grass fed systems that aren't so popular in the rest of Europe," said Guy Attenborough, head of communications at the MLC.

In addition, EBLEX is doing a significant amount of work with offals in an attempt inject some value into fifth quarter products in Europe. The offal strategy is two pronged, EBLEX is aiming to build up exports and encourage more processors to get involved with offal processing, and also to encourage home consumption of offal products.

BPEX will be working with EBLEX on joint, multi-species missions and promotions in Europe to re-enter markets that were lost during the export ban. As soon as UK regains its official FMD-free status from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and third country export agreements are negotiated, BPEX will also work to re-enter valuable fifth quarter markets such as Japan and Korea.