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Red Tractor to bring in tighter inspection rules.

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From November farmers who fall short of Red Tractor standards will find themselves visited for on-site inspections on a much more frequent basis, as Red Tractor campaigns to strengthen its brand and show its integrity as the go to standard for farm- assured quality products. Now around 60,000 farmers undergo an annual inspection, and the data taken by the inspectors measure the compliance levels, through this system it is relatively simple to see these farmers who need more scrutiny across their systems, and guidance on upgrading their performance.

Red Tractor Assurance chief executive Jim Moseley said at a recent briefing

"every signed-up farmer should be complying with every single standard, every day of the year. For the vast majority of farmers in the UK, that regime already works, but obviously there are always opportunities for improvement. We will increase the inspection frequency for those farmers who are failing to comply with all of the standards every day, and many of those audits will become unannounced audits."

Whilst on site during a Red Tractor audit at one of their clients, ML3 Technical's Malcolm Laidlaw was told by the auditor that different clauses will carry a different weighting, which, when scored will determine the risk and thus the likelihood of a revisit.

Mr Moseley said there was no plans to reduce inspection numbers for those that were fully compliant, however Red Tractor inspection regimes would be streamlined using technology to capture information daily to determine compliance.

"We want to work with those excellent farmers to develop an online portal, so we can collect the data, which will make our inspections a lot shorter as we will not need to do the level of record-keeping that we currently do on farm."

For help to ensure you comply with the Red Tractor or for documentation support, please contact ML3 Technical Services, or visit our online shop.

Red tractor also announced at the briefing plans to become the "flagship of British food and farming standards" which would include new modules as well as the core standards. These new modules could include organic farming, enriched animal welfare and environmental improvements. By offering a broader choice the hope is Red Tractor will become the "one stop-shop" of assurance schemes. Mr Moseley confirmed discussions were already underway with Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) Marque and the Soil Association to gauge their interest in collaboration, as well as inviting the RSPCA into open discussions.

The new modular standards should be launched around the end of 2019, once all international benchmarking and consumer research has been completed. This will result in a clear labelling offer for consumers, simpler auditing for farmers and reduced cost for processors and retailers.

If you would like further information of Red Tractor Certification click the link here or call us on 07792 050882

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Tuesday, 15 January 2019
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