New figures from Food from Britain reveal foot and mouth slashed the value of meat and dairy exports by £247m last year. However, fears that the disease would have a damaging knock-on effect on other UK exports were largely unfounded, said FFB chief executive David McNair. During 2001, the value of UK food and drink exports dropped by 2% or £207m to just over £8.5bn. But taking the lost meat and dairy sales out of the equation, exports were up £40m. "The foot and mouth export restrictions have severely hampered the market's recovery," said McNair. "However, this masks an otherwise resilient and more positive performance." The 4% decline in exports to the US ­ the UK's third largest export market after Ireland and France ­ reflected a downturn in the economy rather than a backlash against British products in the wake of foot and mouth, said McNair. "The faith US consumers have in the Food and Drug Administration means that if something is on the shelf, most people think it's safe to eat." Value added foods, Scotch whisky, soft drinks and cheese have been particularly successful, while exports to South Korea and Japan showed double digit growth. {{NEWS }}