Assured Food Standards

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Assured Food Standards
Formation 13 June 2000
Legal status Non-profit company
Purpose Food production standards in the UK
Region served
United Kingdom
Food producers, processors, contract caterers, wholesalers, food service and 78,000 farmers
Chief Executive
David Clarke
Main organ
AFS board (Chairman - David Gregory)
Parent organization
Affiliations Ulster Farmers' Union, AHDB, Dairy UK, British Retail Consortium, Food and Drink Federation
Website AFS

Assured Food Standards is a British organisation that promotes and regulates food quality. It licenses the Red Tractor quality mark, a product certification programme that comprises a number of farm assurance schemes for food products, animal feed and fertilizer.


The Red Tractor scheme was launched in 2000 by the NFU, with the logo originally known as the Little Red Tractor, and also the British Farm Standard. It was launched on 13 June 2000.[1]

Around the time of the launch, the NFU found in a survey that 70% of the British public had no idea what type of food their local farmers tended to produce.

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.[2]


  1. Red Tractor is the largest food assurance scheme in the UK. It claims to ensure the food is traceable, safe to eat and has been produced responsibly.
  2. The Union Jack in the Red Tractor logo indicates the food has been farmed, processed and packed in the UK.
  3. 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:

Certification bodies the Red Tractor schemes work with include:

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 backed in the UK. To qualify as "farmed" animals must be born, reared and slaughtered in the UK.[3] 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 Tesco pork chops labelled as British came from the British Isles.[4]

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