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The Brits were out in force in Paris for SIAL, taking full advantage of the lifting of the beef export ban to promote their wares at one of the world's largest food exhibitions. The fair was a popular draw, none more so than the meat hall, with EBLEX

's St George's pub-style stand proving particularly popular. Ed Bedington and Chloe Smith report on some of the highlights

BERTIN EXPANDS

The export manager of Brazil's biggest beef export company has said it will grow by 30% in the next year. Speaking from Bertin's large stand at Sial, Hudson Carvalho Silveira said the company expected a "very good year" with a growth rate exceeding Brazil's already high average of around 20% in the beef export market.

Bertin Food Division plans to push harder into Russia and the Middle East, which Silveira said are the "highest growing" areas for beef exports. "We have seen a huge increment for Russia," he said, "and we are looking to [start exporting to] east European countries like Bulgaria, Romania."

Brazil's success in the beef export market has been attributed to its willingness to produce meat to the specific food safety laws of 70 separate export areas, and to slaughter for the halal and kosher markets in the Middle East, he said. Brazil is now the world's biggest exporter of beef, shipping 2.3mt to 176 markets in 2005.

Marketing director Fernanda Bertin said the exhibition was a valuable business tool. "Sial is the most important show for Bertin," she said, "I come to Europe only three times a year and every day I talk to clients by email, on the phone.

"Here I can look into their eyes. The contact is necessary. It is very difficult to close contracts here, but we can build relationships," she said.

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