Assured Food Standards
|Formation||13 June 2000|
|Legal status||Non-profit company|
|Purpose||Food production standards in the UK|
|Food producers, processors, contract caterers, wholesalers, food service and 78,000 farmers|
|AFS board (Chairman - David Gregory)|
|Affiliations||Ulster Farmers' Union, AHDB, Dairy UK, British Retail Consortium, Food and Drink Federation|
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.
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.
- 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.
- The Union Jack in the Red Tractor logo indicates the food has been farmed, processed and packed in the UK.
- 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 Council will produce poultry meat to the Red Tractor standard, meaning they are kept in more humane surroundings.)
- Crops and sugar beet (Assured Combinable Crops Scheme)
Certification bodies the Red Tractor schemes work with include:
- NSF-CMi in Long Hanborough
- SAI Global in Milton Keynes (a spin off of Standards Australia)
- Northern Ireland Food Chain Certification, in Lisburn
- Product Authentication International
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. 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.
- Soil Association - certificates British organic food
- Food Standards Agency
- Little Red Tractor, a children's cartoon on CBeebies
- United Kingdom Accreditation Service
- 2000 launch
- Carling certification
- Hawkes, Steve (16 September 2013). "It's all Double Dutch at Tesco as 'British' pork chops come from overseas". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Red Tractor
- Red Tractor Assurance and Farm and Processor information
- Simply Beef and Lamb
- Certification bodies:
- Defra study to assess whether membership of a Farm Assurance Scheme affects compliance with animal welfare legislation and code shows higher conformance on Farm assured farms
- Criticism from the RSPB and CPRE in January 2001
- 'Shocking' pig cruelty condemned at Norfolk farm, a Red Tractor assured farm, in February 2011