Only about one fifth of 9,000 farms cleansed and officially approved FMD is back in the headlines, the government suspending some decontamination work amid allegations of extravagant claims for payment by farmers or contractors. The main relevance of this to the meat trade is the likelihood of further delay in restocking of affected holdings to bring production back up to near normal levels. Only about a fifth of the nearly 9,000 farms declared infected since the epidemic was discovered in February have been cleansed and officially approved for restocking, prompting repeated claims by industry spokesmen in the areas that total output would remain depressed much longer than DEFRA has admitted. Most recent predictions by the MLC, calculated before the suspension of cleansing, indicated slight upturns in production of mutton and lamb and of pork and bacon next year, but a further drop in beef output. Output of all meats appeared certain to be lower in 2002 than in 2000 with particularly dramatic shortfalls in production of sheepmeat and pork. The new disruption is superficially of most significance to sheep and cattle producers in north west and south west England and parts of Wales. However even the Scots are worried, despite their much more cost effective cleansing winning them exemption from the ban, because they will need animals from England and Wales for restocking their farms. Slower rebuilding of meat output is, however, a medium-term problem. In the short term the main difficulties are still the surpluses of sows and lambs, along with older cattle eating feed required for beef animals. - Expansion in the Danish pig industry is likely to fuel growth of pork imports into the UK market next year, shipments expected to increase from this year's 227,000t to 240,000t. {{M/E MEAT }}