Sharp falls of 30% or 40% in beef sales on the continent following the proliferation of BSE cases in France and more recently Germany, the Netherlands and Spain are likely to prove temporary if the UK experience in 1996 is a meaningful precedent. Retailers in this country regained most of their lost volumes within months if not weeks. However some UK market analysts insist that there has been a permanent loss of demand, particularly among consumers with young children, although this is difficult to quantify. Assuming similar enduring damage to the European market, demand erosion of only 10% or less would be sufficient to cause severe budgetary and agripolitical problems for Brussels. Specifically the Private Storage Aid Scheme is regarded as hopelessly inadequate and traders are talking of a need for full scale intervention to absorb at least half a million tonnes. {{MEAT }}

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