Meat processors in the UK and in some other EU states are increasingly worried by the cost and margin implications of the fashionable environmental and organic food sentiments beginning to influence government policy. The latest evidence is DEFRA secretary of state Margaret Beckett voicing opinions similar to those of her German counterpart, the radical Renate Kunast, at a conference in London on Thursday. Slaughterers and further processors fear demands by Beckett and Kunast for a fundamental overhaul of EU policy to discourage industrial farming will drive up the cost of home produced raw material, especially beef and lamb, by penalising farmers using traditional methods. Ironically most of this country's cattle and sheep producers serving the multiples operate extensive systems which industry leaders reckon should be favoured by the environmental and organic lobbies, yet these production units are criticised as industrial because they are relatively large scale by European standards. The drift of policy appears to threaten their viability by attacking the economies of scale needed to offset the low financial yields per hectare and relatively slow growth rates. {{M/E MEAT }}