The latest in a series of threats to the home-produced meat supply chain is producer opposition to the government's insistence on maintaining the 20-day livestock movement restriction, a measure introduced last year as a result of FMD.
Farmers' organisations claim nationwide protests will begin next week in response to official confirmation of the ban remaining in force until at least November.
Ironically, these protests likely to cause difficulties for processors and retailers are being staged against a restriction criticised by farmers for creating a logjam in the livestock production system.
The controversial rule, which prohibits the movement of animals off a farm if others have been brought onto the holding in the preceding three weeks, was intended to help eradicate FMD by preventing dispersal of stock before infected newcomers to a herd or flock could be identified as carriers of the disease.
However, the farmers point out this restriction will cause severe difficulty in the autumn because many animals need to be moved for slaughter or to different holdings for over-wintering at the same time as replacement stock are being purchased.
Financial flows through the agricultural sector depend in part upon these seasonal transactions.
From the processors' perspective, the obvious danger is of interruptions to the supply of animals for killing when in peak condition, though producer lobbyists note the risk of more subtle inefficiencies creeping into the system due to delays in moving young or breeding stock.
The NFU has been pressing for a reduction in the standstill period, but farming minister Lord Whitty and DEFRA officials insist the three-week period must be maintained to minimise the chances of new outbreaks of FMD or other diseases not being identified until after infection has spread.
Although the dispute has been simmering for weeks and the minister's decision was not entirely unexpected, a more sinister angle is now becoming apparent.
First acknowledged in public by the National Beef Association, although well known among livestock traders, the flaw in the DEFRA policy is the widespread flaunting of the 20-day rule by farmers.
Producers are evading the restriction by switching from formal auction sales and purchases to private transactions. The legal documentation showing changes of ownership can be maintained, but with movement dates falsified.
In effect, as producer representatives including the NBA admit, the UK livestock traceability system is being compromised.