Clive Beddall A recovery plan to restore consumer confidence in British food at home and abroad in the wake of foot and mouth was finally given the government green light on Thursday when Food from Britain received a promised £3m additional cash as a "battle fund." Margaret Beckett's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs gave the go-ahead for the money, of which £1.7m will be spent supporting regional speciality foods ­ some of the producers worst hit by the loss of markets during FMD. Producers welcomed the news. Several hope Beckett will "cough up even more cash for FFB when she realises just how hard some regional businesses have been hit". As predicted by The Grocer in May, the campaign will be run in partnership with various organisations including the regional food groups in England, the Countryside Agency, tourism bodies and the NFU. Plans are in place for regional food and tourism initiatives on a national and local level across the country which are designed to highlight the richness and diversity of regional produce. Activity starts immediately and includes participation in consumer shows, farmers' market promotions, meet-the-buyer events, regional recipe booklets as well as support and advice for regional speciality producers. In addition, £1.3m has been allocated to rebuild overseas sales for the country's hardest hit food exporters. FFB chief executive David McNair said: "The industry has been hit not only with a loss of business in meat and dairy but also a loss of confidence across the board in our food safety and quality." FFB will carry out in depth attitudinal research in key international markets to establish public and trade perception of UK food and drink in the light of the FMD crisis. The results will form the platform for a raft of projects and activities through FFB's 11 international offices. McNair added: "Our food and drink export market was starting to show signs of recovery for the first time in three years, with last year holding steady at £8.8bn and the first four months of this year showing 5% growth. "We are keen to ensure this upward trend continues and this extra funding will ensure that markets lost due to FMD can recover quickly as restrictions are lifted." {{NEWS }}