Frequently asked questions 


Our frequently asked questions summaries will help you understand the changes in version 5 of the Red Tractor standards.

What do I need to do before my assessment?

We have shared version 5 manuals and created helpful guides so that you can see what the standards entail. However, the standards can be accessed in full here

We have handy sector specific checklist for you to work through which incorporates all the changes in that sector to help you meet every standard, every day. Click here for the checklists.

What’s new?

The detail is sector specific, but most changes are a result of legislation change, keeping up with best practice and maximising market access for minimum audit burden. 

Why do I need to have a health and safety policy?

All farms must have a written Health & Safety policy – this is a slight advance on the legal baseline which only applies to businesses with more than five employees.  

This will ensure that all Red Tractor farms have a simple, clearly defined approach to managing Health & Safety and that this can be independently verified. Given high fatality figures in the industry we believe it is essential to check policies are fit for purpose and implemented correctly.

Read our blog on keeping farms safe here.


Do I need to pay for a Health & Safety policy to comply with version 5 of the standards?

No. You can get free support to create a Health & Safety policy on the Health and Safety Executive’s website, including a template and worked example. 

The Health and Safety Executive template can fit in any agricultural setting. However, you can choose to create your own or use an alternative template if you wish.  


Why do I need a broken needle policy and what should it include?

While suspected broken needles in livestock are rare, it is important that farmers have a policy in place to deal with any cases where it is not possible for it to be removed. This is an animal welfare and food safety concern. 

Members can attempt to remove a broken needle from an animal themselves or seek assistance from their vet. If removal isn’t possible, members must follow a broken needle policy. 

What is allowed under the standard for tethering cattle?

From November, housing systems which tether cattle will not be permitted. Where requested by members, a derogation will be offered and a farm visit will be made in cases where it is not possible for a business to transition away from a tethered housing system. You need to apply directly to Red Tractor for a derogation before 1 November. 

Tethering or restraining cattle for any other purpose will still be permitted, including for showing, milking and veterinary procedures. Tethering at shows is allowed because this is temporary, and cattle are under the care of a duty vet for the duration. 

What is red tractor doing about farrowing crates?

Farrowing crates are still permitted by Red Tractor however our standards around their use have been strengthened. There is pressure to move away from traditional farrowing crates, which means temporary crating has become an attractive option as it allows for the confinement of sows during the risky period – the early days after farrowing. 

There is now a recommendation that where a temporary crating system is used, it is opened as soon as possible after farrowing to allow the sow to turn around freely. We have also introduced criteria for those producers adopting indoor loose farrowing systems. 

How do I access Pig Welfare training and when must I complete it by?

Ensuring pigs are always treated compassionately is vital for pig welfare and will protect the industry’s reputation. A new standard means that anyone involved in the care of pigs needs to have completed all available mandatory training modules on pig welfare, initially focusing on moving and handling of pigs.

A new UK Pig industry training platform module has been developed by the AHDB. It launched on 1 March 2022. All staff involved in the care of pigs have up to six months from the platform’s launch date to complete the training, so training needs to be completed by 31 August 2022. 

The training is available on the AHDB website.


Why do I need to complete medicines training?

Education underpins the success of strategies to deliver improved antibiotics stewardship. Training increases awareness, enhances knowledge and understanding of antimicrobial resistance and drives consistent medicine best practice on UK farms. 

It also supports vital RUMA/Targets Task Force work to deliver the UK five-year antimicrobial strategy by improving education, training and public engagement. 

Approved medicines training providers can be found here.


Why do I not get a certificate confirming my Tesco Nurture score?

Pre-2018, Red Tractor growers supplying Tesco completed Tesco Nurture as a separate assessment and received a certificate confirming their score. These requirements are now consolidated within the Red Tractor assessment process. A Tesco score is still calculated but this is only visible to the grower, the Tesco Primary Supplier (if different from the grower) and Tesco – through the XURE system. No certificate is generated.

This helps ensure we are only sharing information concerning farm assessment performance where the member has specifically consented to provide this information to another party. It also helps ensure that all interested parties refer to the most up-to-date certification information.

Why have you changed the pesticide residue testing requirements in version 5 of the Fresh Produce standards?

Residue testing provides a verification that pesticide management practices on farm are producing safe, legal product. It can also be a diagnostic tool to identify risks which are not immediately apparent.

Where customer testing provides an equivalent verification, this can provide acceptable evidence of compliance. It is important however that customer testing is providing a truly equivalent outcome. We have strengthened this standard (IM.5) to ensure that where growers are relying upon customer test results, testing is completed to the required frequency and that results are made available to farms. It is important to avoid duplication – we must also ensure robust risk management and a level playing field.

What is a reasonable justification for reducing pesticide residue testing frequency?

Guidance is provided within the wording to standard IM.5.g:


‘Where crops are tested less than annually, a documented, risk-based justification is present and – as a minimum – consideration is given to the following points:- historical results are available and indicate a particularly low risk of MRL exceedance- crop management practices and PPP use presents a particularly low risk of MRL exceedance and has not substantially changed since the last available test was completed- consideration is given to risk of adventitious contamination routes (e.g. legacy contamination, spray drift)- an alternative testing frequency is defined, ensuring that testing is completed at least once every three years’


I am a Fresh Produce scheme member – why do I need to complete a Mass Balance (TI.3.c)?

The Mass Balance exercise is a demonstration of effective traceability systems. Following the ‘one up, one down’ principle, members should be able to account for all outloads from each distinct batch of product. If an issue is identified further up the supply chain, it is important that members can effectively identify where all other outloads from the same batch have gone so that further action can be taken where needed. If food safety or legality is affected, this could mean recalling product.

Implementation may be quite different between farms. Where one batch of product goes to many different customers, this could be a complex exercise. At the other end of the spectrum, where whole batches are always supplied to one customer, this may be very simple. Effective traceability and protection of food safety is integral to the Red Tractor scheme, so it is important to demonstrate that all farms can do this effectively.

Where is the Fresh Produce self-assessment template for version 5?

There are two templates associated with standard RA.8.

All farms must complete a minimum of one self-assessment per year against the Fresh Produce scheme standards (RA.8.a) – a template for this requirement can be found here: FP-Self-Assessment.docx (live.com).

RA.8.b requires that farms complete regular internal audits to verify that preventative actions are operating effectively. Red Tractor provides a template for members to use if they wish – FP-Internal-Audit.docx (live.com) – farms can opt to use an alternative approach if they prefer.


How do I calculate my slurry storage requirements?

Visit the AHDB’s website to use a free tool to calculate your slurry requirements.

Enter basic farm information, such as herd numbers, yard and roof areas that capture rainfall, and housing periods, and the slurry wizard will calculates the volume of slurry that your farm will produce on a monthly basis.

What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a coordinated and planned strategy for the prevention, detection and control of pests, weeds, and diseases.

The continuing loss of plant protection products and rising levels of resistance means that the conventional crop protection toolbox is shrinking. At the same time, many policy drivers emphasise a need for reduced reliance on pesticides.

IPM covers all harmful organisms, including weeds, pests, and diseases. IPM should encompass a wide range of activities that relate to managing crop protection and plant health from rotation, variety choice, cultivation, genetics, monitoring, mechanical, biological, and chemical control through to record-keeping.


Visit the AHDB website to learn more.

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