Written by Iain Hoey
A consultation on the standards of the UK’s leading food and farming assurance body has drawn to a close, collecting over 3,000 pieces of feedback from meetings, written questions, emails, phone calls and answers to its line consultation survey.
Launched in January, the Red Tractor scheme ran an eight-week review of new proposals for scheme’s six sectors – beef and lamb, poultry, pigs, dairy, fresh produce and combinable crops and sugar beet.
The scheme, which routinely reviews its standards every three to four years across all sectors to ensure members farm in a way that meets the expectations of consumers and market requirements as simply as possible, asked the industry for feedback over its proposals.
The proposals were developed with input from experts across the food chain – farming organisations, farmers, vets, processors, retailers and foodservice operators, over a 12-month period of research which studied consumer trends, reviewed the latest science and evidence, as well as benchmarked the scheme against competitors and industry best practice.
During the consultation, the Red Tractor team attended around 60 member and stakeholder meetings with around 2,000 people in attendance, collecting over 3,000 pieces of feedback.
Red Tractor CEO Jim Moseley called it the body’s biggest consultation in its 20-year history: “Although we routinely review our standards every few years, we felt it was important to change our approach, by opening up the process to as many individuals as possible. We wanted to hear directly from our members and stakeholders, in addition to the established routes of representative groups and organisations.
“We’re living in a time of ever-increasing scrutiny and recognise that the choices we make today, could have a fundamental impact on the future of British Agriculture. Preserving the public’s trust in UK agriculture and the Red Tractor, a recognised symbol of British food quality has never been more important.”
The final proposition of the Version 5 Standards will be published in the summer, ahead of implementation in November.
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