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Fewer logos would cut out confusion

by 5m Editor
5 July 2007, at 12:39pm

UK - NFU President Peter Kendall says shoppers are confused by the barrage of quality marks now covering the food market. The NFU wants to see consolidation of logos and standards at retail level and simplification for farmers at the production end of the food chain.

The union has announced ambitious new plans to support Assured Food Standards in taking the much trusted, and sort after, Little Red Tractor food chain assurance logo up a gear. It has endorsed proposals that aim to unify a range of food quality marks under a single Red Tractor brand and a new Red Tractor Task Force, headed by Peter Kendall, is taking on the challenge to simplify the farm assurance inspection regime.

“We need to go further and build on the growing strength of the Red Tractor by bringing as many other similar schemes under its umbrella as possible and then put serious money behind promoting a single brand,” said Mr Kendall. “The Red Tractor logo now appears on over £5.3 billion food products at retail level and Red Tractor Week, which starts on July 9, will be a great opportunity to increase consumer recognition of the quality mark and the world class standards of quality and care that it signifies," he added.

Another principle target was to simplify the farm assurance regime so that farms would only need a maximum of one inspection per cycle, no matter how many different schemes it was a member of.

“As things stand, a mixed farm, producing three or four different products, could be faced with visits from three or four different inspectors all operating to slightly different rules. That is unnecessary and wasteful. We need a single set of standards covering the things that are common to all farmers and growers, supplemented by individual protocols for the various farm products and subject to a single annual inspection," said Mr Kendall.

Once is enough
The golden rule should be that no farmer or grower need be inspected twice for compliance with any single standard. Once should be enough. This was a more sustained approach and would cut compliance costs for individual business and reduce administration.

Around 68,000 Red Tractor farmers and growers in the UK, accounting for 66-95 per cent of food output, are part of the Red Tractor scheme; 450 qualified, independent inspectors carry out around 60,000 inspections a year and 350 companies are now licensed to pack Red Tractor products.

All goods carrying the logo are traceable right back to the farm or farms from which they come from and the whole of the supply chain has to adhere to robust independent inspections and achieve high standards before any product is allowed to carry the Red Tractor mark. Food produced under the standard is safe and produced to strict animal welfare rules.

5m Editor