Assured Food Standards has launched a consultation over the future shape of its Red Tractor farm assurance standards across the scheme’s six sectors – beef and lamb; combinable crops and sugar beet; dairy; fresh produce; pigs; and poultry.

New RT logo

The proposed changes have been developed over the last year with input from farming organisations and farmers; veterinarians; food processors and retailers. This process studied consumer trends, reviewed the latest science and evidence, and benchmarked Red Tractor against competitors and industry best practice.

The amendments mainly concern streamlining, legislative compliance and responding to change. They include simplifying some of the requirements for farmers to drive greater understanding and compliance; and rationalising standards which are common across multiple sectors to provide improved clarity for farmers and their assessors. The current animal welfare, worker health, safety and welfare; and environmental protection standards have been strengthened.

“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,” says AFS chief executive Jim Moseley.

“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 acknowledging the implications of the challenges that the industry faces with future trade deals and the agricultural transition plan.”

The consultation and review close on March 5th 2021, with the revised standards coming into effect from November 2021. More detail on the proposed changes is available here, with the consultation at the webpage.