05 Jun Assured Food Standards (The Red Tractor)
At KCS Compliance we support organisations implement and retain accreditations. The following sets out the Assured Food Standards Scheme and who may benefit from having this accreditation.
The Red Tractor scheme was launched in 2000 by the National Farmers Union of England and Wales, with the logo originally known as the Little Red Tractor, and also the British Farm Standard. It was launched on 13 June 2000.
Around the time of the launch, the NFU found in a survey that 70% of the public had no idea what type of food their local farmers tended to produce.
In 2005 the organisation kept its Red Tractor quality mark, but was renamed from “British Farm Standard” to the “Assured Food Standards”.
In April 2009, Cains Brewery of Liverpool produced the first lager, Cains Export, to be accredited by the Red Tractor. Since June 2010, Carling cans of lager have displayed the logo, as the barley used has been certified.
- Red Tractor is the largest food assurance scheme in the United Kingdom. It claims to ensure the food is traceable, safe to eat and has been produced responsibly.
- Red Tractor standards cover animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection.
- The Union Flag in the Red Tractor logo indicates the food has been farmed, processed and packed in the United Kingdom.
- Processed Vegetable Growers’ Association Red Tractor cover an extensive range of products, including meat and poultry, dairy products, breakfast cereals, and fruit & vegetables.
All stages of food production are independently certified (inspected) to the Red Tractor standards before food can be labelled with the Red Tractor logo.
The Red Tractor Farm Assurance scheme is divided in different sectors:
- Pigs (Assured British Pigs) – 90% of British pig producers
- Dairy (Assured Dairy Farms– former National Dairy Farm Assured Scheme)
- Beef and Lamb
- Fresh produce
- Poultry (Assured Chicken Production. Members of the British Poultry Councilwill produce poultry meat to the Red Tractor standard, meaning they are kept in more humane surroundings.)
- Crops and sugar beet (Assured Combinable Crops Scheme)
In 2009, around £10 billion of products were sold bearing the logo. A 0.001% royalty fee is charged to bear the logo.
The union flag displayed as part of the Red Tractor logo gives a guarantee that the produce was farmed, processed and packed in the UK. To qualify as “farmed” animals must be born, reared and slaughtered in the UK.This is in contrast to a simple union flag logo without the Red Tractor which is often used to simply denote UK based processing-a BBC investigation in 2013 revealed that there was a less than 1 per cent chance that a pack of Supermarket pork chops labelled as British came from the British Isles.
If you’d like to know more about the Assured Food Standards Scheme or any other accreditation, get in touch today and we can support you through the whole process to securing an accreditation relevant to your business.