The Red Tractor organisation has launched a two-month consultation process as part of its programme to agree new farm standards running through to the end of 2020.
The standards, which are reviewed every three years, must be kept up to date, commented Red Tractor Assurance CEO, David Clarke.
“With or without Brexit there will always be legal regulations and we cannot afford to fall behind, and new issues emerge in the minds of shoppers who buy our products,” he said, adding that the organisation’s planned changes will provide “positive re-assurance” on some key issues.
These include a particular focus on the following areas:
- Rodenticides and Environment Protection: “Regulations came into force this year to seriously restrict the use of rodenticides because of concerns that their use was damaging wild bird populations. Under the regulations users must take further training or they will only be able to buy rodenticides intended for amateur and domestic use. However, government has accepted that Red Tractor members are responsible users and should not face these restrictions. We are adding some details to the standards to secure these benefits.”
- Biosecurity: “We all know that outbreaks of disease can be devastating so we are proposing some changes to make current policies on biosecurity even clearer, for example, when using disinfectants. In the more intensive livestock sectors the focus will be more on access to the unit by people and visitors and their impact on biosecurity.”
- Antimicrobial resistance: “Wild press reports that blame this entire problem on the use of antimicrobials in farming are clearly misguided, but we all have a part to play to ensure responsible use. RUMA (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture) co-ordinates the food supply chain on this topic and Red Tractor is a long standing supporter of RUMA. UK practice is already good but we will introduce some additions in line with the latest RUMA guidance.”
The consultation period runs until December 31, 2016