“Latest initiatives will provide even greater level of confidence in the scheme”

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Red Tractor has announced a raft of initiatives developed over the past 18 months that are designed to improve the effectiveness of its assurance scheme.

In particular, improvements to the assessment and inspection systems, increased scrutiny throughout the supply chain and the introduction of a team of ‘superauditors’ to check the work of assessors have been made, to ensure that not only are standards properly implemented, but that they are also done so consistently.

“These developments will further improve the quality of delivery of Red Tractor assurance standards,” said David Clarke, chief executive of Assured Food Standards which operates the Red Tractor scheme. “While Red Tractor is acknowledged as the UK’s leading farm assurance scheme, we’re not content to rest on our laurels as we know that standards mean little if consumers can’t be confident that they are being properly followed.

“These latest initiatives, which we have been developing and refining over the past 18 months, are now being introduced to further enhance the quality and consistency in the way Red Tractor’s well-respected standards are implemented. They will provide an even greater level of confidence in the scheme,” he added.

Red Tractor Assurance embraces food safety, animal welfare, traceability back to farms and environmental protection. The scheme audits every company that uses the Red Tractor logo to ensure products can be traced back to Red Tractor assured farms. As part of the latest set of improvements to the scheme, the audit process has been completely revised to ensure increased scrutiny at every link in the supply chain.

All farm assessors are undergoing new training courses to ensure such rigour and a select team of ‘superauditors’ will check the work of farm assessors through a programme of spot checks to ensure standards are implemented consistently.

Red Tractor has also embraced the latest veterinary science in its approach to animal welfare. David Clarke cites the close collaboration with the UK’s pig industry as an example where Red Tractor now promotes assessment of the welfare of more pigs on more farms and more often than any other assurance scheme.

These latest developments add to the new version of the Red Tractor logo which was introduced last year for use on ready meals and other multi-ingredient foods. This maintains the same standards applied to individual food products, providing consumers with a level of assurance unmatched in the ready meals sector.

“Red Tractor Assurance covers more farms, includes more types of food, inspects more animals and addresses more safety issues than any other UK assurance scheme and the Red Tractor logo is now on-pack on more than £12 billion worth of food and drink products. These latest developments will ensure we continue to appeal to consumers who increasingly look to Red Tractor as their assurance symbol of choice,” said Clarke.

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