In Cumbrian hotspot cases more than doubled in week to August 4 Leaflets from the Co-Op promoting fresh lamb shoulder at half price, £1.99 per kg, dropped into household letter boxes at Penrith, Cumbria on Monday, a day after the announcement by DEFRA of a new emergency programme to deal with a resurgence of foot and mouth disease in the surrounding area. This coincidence demonstrated the link between the crisis atmosphere returning to one of the heartlands of the British sheep industry and the severe pressure on the wholesale and retail lamb markets. Although Cumbria, with its small population, is negligible as a proportion of the national consumer market, and the county has little sheep kill capacity, it remains the key to solving the UK livestock disease problem. National media have tended to focus on heavy culling of sheep in Wales, and on better news from south west England and most of Scotland, now officially declared free of foot and mouth disease. But in the hotspot close to Penrith the number of new cases more than doubled in the week to August 4. This brought the incidence back up to the devastating level last seen in early May, and much worse than the Welsh have experienced. DEFRA's latest package of anti-disease measures has put police patrols on to the roads around Penrith, with suspect vehicles being stopped and some compulsorily cleansed. The possible implication for the national meat market is at least a longer tail' to the epidemic than government predictions have indicated so far, and perhaps disruption to supply and prices throughout next year and into 2003 if outbreaks surge again in the coming autumn. {{M/E MEAT }}