Retailers are facing higher beef and lamb prices again, once exports of carcase meat to the Continent restart next week.

Farmers' groups were predicting that beef and lamb prices would bounce back to pre-foot and mouth levels by March as competition returned to the market.

"There's demand in Spain for lamb, and, given some retailers' commitment to sourcing British lamb into the spring, higher prices should return to the market," said Peter King, NFU livestock advisor.

Only the FMD-restricted area covering much of southeast England remains under embargo, following a decision by EU veterinary experts last week.

The meat industry was hoping to quickly rebuild its £10m-per-week lamb and £3m beef trade with the likes of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.

British lamb exported before the ban has already gone on promotion in French retailer Auchan under the St George brand.