First reaction of British pig producers and processors, and of their retail sector supporters, was to welcome the prospect of a ban on the use of meat and bone meal livestock feed throughout the EU as the long overdue correction of a trade distortion. But in the days since Farm Ministers formally adopted the measure doubts have been expressed about the net gain this country's industry can expect, even though producers in other member states will shortly face problems already familiar here. "Their costs will rise, but so will ours," an adviser to the British pig industry told The Grocer. This country's industry has already suffered severe contraction, attributed partly to the longstanding, unilateral prohibition of mbm by the UK government reducing competitiveness by driving up feed costs. But those producers still in business after adapting to the enforced use of mbm-free feed are finding the cost being boosted further by the worldwide surge of vegetable protein raw material market values, in particular the soya price, triggered by the predictions of the EU-wide ban. Knocking out mbm will create EU demand for an extra three million tonnes of imported soya, according to estimates by Brussels officials. Although the market is seen as having probably overestimated the sustainable price premium for soya, the "level playing field" is not being developed in the way British producers had hoped. All EU suppliers will now be able to demonstrate the same mbm-free credentials as producers in this country, weakening one of the British industry's arguments against imports, while the £2bn-plus EU budgetary cost of mbm disposal will probably have to be at least part-funded by producers one way or another. {{MEAT }}