Retailers are again under attack from beef producers infuriated by rising imports, but latest supply figures from MAFF show the heaviest pressure on the market has been caused by UK farmers' own output. Although domestic production in October-December was about 4% lower than a year earlier at 177,000 tonnes, and imports were up more than 15,000 tonnes or 40%, by far the greatest change in supply was a 25,000 tonne increase in sales of intervention beef. Imports during the final quarter of 1999 merely returned to roughly the tonnages landed in 1997 and before the 1996 BSE crisis, but since late summer 1998 the market has had to absorb about 100,000 tonnes of home produced beef from UK official stocks. {{MEAT }}

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