While British producers can look forward to the resumption of beef exports some time this year, it is not all plain sailing, according to Jean-Pierre Garnier at the Meat and Livestock Commission.

EU veterinary experts could agree to lift the ban in March, leading to a resumption of trade in April or May, but it would still take time for French and German legislators to update their national laws, Mr Garnier warned.

And even then, beef would initially be marketed for the foodservice market rather than to retailers.

“Continental supermarkets are not yet content to put British beef back on shelves.

But 50% of French consumers don’t mind British beef on their plate, so to begin with we must aim mostly for the foodservice industry.

We mustn’t carry the flag too high.”