Red Tractor asks farmers to help shape future standards
UK farm assurance body, Red Tractor, is urging farmers to engage in a consultation on how its farm standards should evolve.
Red Tractor has opened the consultation with proposals put forward on how the standards should look across the scheme’s six sectors: beef and lamb, poultry, pigs, dairy, fresh produce and combinable crops and sugar beet.
Red Tractor is seeking input from across the industry before finalising its proposition of what the schemes standards will be from November 2021.
The proposals have been developed over 12 months. At every step of the process, representatives from across the food chain – farming organisations, farmers, vets, processors and retailers – have been involved in drawing up the amendments, say Red Tractor.
Together they have studied consumer trends, reviewed the latest science and evidence, as well as benchmarked the scheme against competitors and industry best practice. Red Tractor says the three-stage process of committee, consultation and consensus adheres to gold standard recommendations of the British Standards Institute.
“Red Tractor was created to become a symbol of trust, safety and responsible production. Twenty years on, our purpose remains the same and we are absolutely delivering on it.”
CEO Jim Moseley commented: “We are a proven world leader in food chain assurance, but we cannot rest on our laurels.
“Red Tractor is recognised as a symbol of British food quality but to maintain this, our standards must continue to evolve with the times, to ensure they address changes in legislation, industry practice and reflect the emerging issues on shoppers’ minds.
“At a time of ever-increasing scrutiny, preserving the public’s trust in UK agriculture and the Red Tractor logo has never been more important.
“These proposals strive to strike a delicate balance which protects and promotes our members, reassures consumers and customers, while acknowledges the implications of the challenges that the industry faces with future trade deals and the agricultural transition plan.”
The proposed amendments tabled by Red Tractor are primarily about streamlining, legislative compliance and responding to change. These include simplifying some of the requirements for farmers to drive greater understanding and compliance, and rationalising standards which are common across multiple sectors, which aims to provide improved clarity for both farmers and their assessors.
Furthermore, Red Tractor says it has listened to British consumers and the recommendations made in a review of the scheme by Dr Jonathan Birnie in 2019, which identified limitations in the current standards around animal and worker welfare and environmental protection.
Jim Moseley added: “Farmers have been an intrinsic part of the process in drawing up the proposed new standards, but now it is over to the membership and stakeholders to have their say.
“Red Tractor was created to become a symbol of trust, safety and responsible production. Twenty years on, our purpose remains the same and we are absolutely delivering on it.
“Millions of shoppers look for the Tractor when they are buying food and drink. And consumer trust has never been higher, making us the most trusted food marque in the UK.” In addition to reviewing its standards, Red Tractor is also asking members and stakeholders for their views on what matters to them and their business.
The consultation and review closes on 5th March 2021 and can be accessed at https://redtractor.citizenspace.com.
Photograph: Red Tractor CEO, Jim Moseley.