German beef, presumably from young bulls, is reported moving into the British processing sector following the collapse of demand and prices on the continent. Other markets including France and Italy are also known to be coming under pressure as German traders seek substitute buyers for beef rejected by their BSE-frightened domestic consumers. Potential competition from Germany is causing unease among Irish suppliers to British supermarkets and burger makers, although this does not imply shippers from Ireland are trying to protect windfall gains here. On the contrary, Irish beef traders are privately complaining of sales much weaker in Britain than home producers (and even official trade figures published in Dublin) suggest. Asda has of course not been buying, and all the other multiples are said to have taken far less Irish beef in the past couple of months than had been predicted when the BSE problem began emerging in France last summer and weakening consumer demand there. Bord Bia reports total Irish beef sales to the UK increased by 16% to about 110,000 tonnes last year, but traders insist there was no pre-Christmas boom in sales to the multiples. {{MEAT }}

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