19 May What is the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme and why is it so important?
The Red Tractor Assurance scheme was born out of the high profile food scares which were making headlines during the early 1990s. The scandal affected people’s trust and British farmed foods took a hard hit. Consequently Farm Assurance Schemes were introduced up and down the country in order to ensure compliance for responsible production of farm produced food.
What is the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme?
With a number of Farm Assurance Schemes in place, it all started to get a little confusing for consumers. They were still not confident in the products they were buying. They wanted a stamp on products which provided reassurance that the food had been produced to high standards.
This is when the British Farm Standard was born – also known as the little Red Tractor. The association was made up of experts from the farming industry, tracing food back to its original source and ensuring all safety procedures had been adhered to. Once a farm was considered to be working to the high standards expected, they received the stamp of approval – the little Red Tractor.
Why is the association so important?
Red Tractor is the only scheme that offers full traceability from farm to fork. To follow this traceability trail, all users have to keep records of their livestock and crops.
Farm animals on a Red Tractor site are given foods which are safe. This means there is no risk of contamination to the meat and milk produced.
Dairy farmers have a strict standard of hygiene from the way the cow is milked to how the milk is stored.
All fruit and vegetables are washed with clean water and workers follow a strict code of conduct relating to hygiene.
All animals are well cared for. It is the farmer’s duty to ensure that animals have adequate space, comfortable housing or shelter and are fed a healthy diet and medical records are kept for all animals to prevent them from becoming unwell.
Farms under the Red Tractor scheme must use responsible farming methods to minimise pollution. This means ensuring that any chemical or pesticides are stored correctly and applied correctly to the crops. It is also the farmers responsibility to ensure their farming has limited impact on nearby wildlife, fauna and flora.
Understanding where food you eat comes from is important to the consumer and if you run a restaurant or café it should be important to you too. We can connect you with a range of foodservice wholesalers who can supply you a range of Red Tractor approved food. You can learn more about the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme here