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Taks Force report is good news for Red Tractor assured farmers

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Red Tractor Assurance welcomes the Task Force recommendations to reduce government inspections for assured farmers.

Over the past two decades, the UK food and farming industry has developed robust private sector assurance schemes. Now Defra’s Task Force on Farm Regulation www.defra.gov.uk/food-farm/farm-manage/farm-regulation has recognised that membership of an assurance scheme indicates that the business has a good level of competence and understanding of regulations.

David Clarke, CEO of Red Tractor Assurance commented; “It makes sense for the Task Force to recommend that assured farms should be considered lower priority for routine regulatory inspections. Through membership of the Red Tractor Assurance schemes our farmers have ‘earned recognition’ of their high standards and it should not be necessary for government bodies to routinely re-inspect the same points.

“This is very good news for assured farmers and growers. Their investment in farm assurance should bring the added benefit of fewer government inspections checking the same points.”

Red Tractor Assurance has been operating ‘earned recognition’ arrangements since 2007 with Trading Standards Inspectors with regard to food hygiene regulations, and since April 2010 with the Environment Agency and IPPC. These arrangements have reduced inspection burdens on producers and resulted in more efficient use of public funds[1] with no compromise in levels of protection.

The credibility of these arrangements was bolstered in December 2010 with the publication of an independent study[2] commissioned by Defra. The report, focussing on animal health and welfare showed assured farms have significantly higher levels of compliance with government regulations.

David added: “It makes sense for this principle to be extended further and we will continue to work with other regulatory bodies for the benefit of Red Tractor assured producers.

“Finally we take on board the Task Force’s recommendations to ensure we continue to keep things as simple as possible, use language that the farmer understands and do whatever we can to avoid a proliferation of overlapping private sector schemes. We will build these principles into future developments of the Red Tractor Assurance schemes.”

  • Red Tractor, run by not-for-profit organisation Red Tractor Assurance, is recognised as the UK’s leading quality food assurance mark guaranteeing food safety, quality and traceability. Put simply, Red Tractor means Great Food, Great Farming.
  • Red Tractor is backed by farmers and growers, food producers, processors and packers who are independently inspected to ensure they are meeting high standards of production relating to food safety and hygiene, animal welfare and environmental protection.
  • High profile support comes from the government, leading supermarket chains and many of Britain’s food brands and restaurants.
  • The Union Flag in the Red Tractor logo provides an independently verified guarantee to consumers of the product’s provenance/origin and shows the food is fully traceable back to British farms.
  • Red Tractor Assurance is supported by the whole food industry. Thousands of farmers, growers, brands, processors, packers, retailers and shoppers get behind Red Tractor all year round because they share the same values in producing quality food
  • Red Tractor Assurance (the company behind the logo) is a not-for-profit organisation
  • A team of professional and independent inspectors carry out in-depth inspections of Red Tractor farms, producers and packers
  • The Red Tractor has a long heritage of integrity and expertise going back over 10 years
  • 78 000 farmers and growers are part of Red Tractor Assurance, as well as 550 packers and over 2000 food service outlets. Over 10billion worth of Red Tractor food & drink is sold every year
  • Red Tractor Standards have been developed and refined in consultations with experts from the food supply chain, respected scientists, prominent academics and experienced professionals from the fields of veterinary science, farming, food processing and retail, animal welfare, food safety and environmental

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