A massive undercover security net with German police liaising with the FBI was thrown over Cologne's Messe exhibition complex this week as Anuga got under way. But although the fair opened within hours of the FBI warning from Washington of a renewed terrorist offensive ­ causing some US buyers to cancel at the last minute ­ hundreds of executives flew into the Rhineland for the global food industry's biggest and best event. And despite earlier predictions that the Americans would not fly to Germany, the US pavilion went ahead with 151 exhibitors ­ only five less than expected. However, plain clothes security agents maintained a discreet presence as they mingled with visitors. But it was in the visitor ranks where the Americans were conspicuous by their absence. Many retail buyers cancelled their trips and several major US food groups banned their executives from flying across the Atlantic. Despite the US bombing offensive in Afghanistan there was a strong middle eastern representation. This included 17 exhibitors from Iran, 20 from Pakistan, 12 from Jordan, 11 from Syria, 13 from Saudi Arabia and 10 from the UAE. Official figures show overall attendance was down 10% to 165,000. Seasoned Anuga visitors had predicted a 20% drop in numbers. Britain was represented by more than 80 firms under the auspices of Food from Britain and many more UK companies took part in the special sectors of the show. While the result for many was "Anuga: business as usual", others admitted that fears of recession, plus the "defecting" of some regular exhibitors to more specialist international fairs, had helped to take the edge off the world's most important show. Nevertheless British traders were praised for turning out in force. An Israeli frozen foods producer told The Grocer: "We're disappointed so many US buyers have cancelled, but impressed by the British turnout." {{NEWS }}