Anyone with doubts about the size of the confidence rebuilding job the food chain faces in world markets once foot and mouth ends should have been amid the aisles at IFE this week. Although to this seasoned observer, at least, it may not quite have been the best IFE the capital has enjoyed, organisers and exhibitors must be congratulated on a valiant effort to present visitors, and the international contingents in particular, with the positive side of the UK food and drink industry. But, alas, even they could not disperse the black clouds of foot and mouth disease which almost took the shine off the glitzy ExCel Centre. Sure, there were plenty of smiles as the marketing battalions put the best of British on show to the world. But even as their efforts painted gloss on to hi-tech knowhow and manufacturing expertise, the spectre of FMD loomed large. Thus Food from Britain chairman Gordon Summerfield, standing in for an understandably absent Nick Brown at the opening ceremony, never spoke truer words when he rallied the troops to be even more innovative as they trek the world flogging British wares. Sadly, his efforts were not helped by mouth frothing media teams who, with preordained agendas, scoured the exhibits, eager to lift a few lids and scoop up the dirt they're convinced is tainting the entire agrifood sector. But even without the media pillagers, daily tv images of animal funeral pyres are putting doubts in the minds of the world about the credibility of the whole British food sector, recalling our history of salmonella, E.coli and Mad Cow Disease. So convincing global checkout queues that this saga is an animal welfare issue rather than one of food safety is becoming a tougher task. Grocery has shown great sympathy for the farmers in the crisis.The challenge now is to ensure this prevails when the recovery campaigns are implemented. As we've said before, we're all in this together ­ and that includes the confidence rebuilding programmes. Clive Beddall, Editor {{OPINION }}