New standards live from 1 November 2021



Our recent consultation set out proposals for reforming the schemes’ standards for each of the farming sectors we cover. The proposals sought to engage as many people as possible across the Red Tractor supply chain to streamline and rationalise standards which are common across multiple sectors, comply with legislation, meet changes in demand, and provide clarity for both farmers and their assessors.


There was some disparity between respondents where they felt some of the proposals we were suggesting went too far, not far enough or shouldn’t be streamlined across multiple sectors. Some views expressed the need for Red Tractor to provide some flexibility within the schemes, which could deliver even greater market access for our members, with minimal impact on the audit burden.


We reviewed the more than 3,000 pieces of qualitative and quantitative feedback that was received. Responses were fed into the technical advisory committees and sectors boards for consensus, before being agreed by the main Red Tractor board.

In some cases, this differentiated our approach, in others it led to some proposals being dropped.

Information is available below to help you get ready and understand the changes that came into effect in November 2021.

Red Tractor



Proposals were put before the food and farming industry, developed over a 12-month period and drawn up with input at every stage of the process from all key stakeholders of the scheme – farmers and farming unions and associations, vets, academics, processors and retailers.  


Our team read and reviewed every response, assigned these to relevant standards and fed them into the committee review process for consensus. We reached the consensus of each of the technical advisory committees, sector boards and the standards committee, and a final seal of approval from the main Red Tractor board.  

It’s not a simple calculation as we have changed the formatting of our standards. For example, in some cases we have consolidated several audit points into one standard. Where necessary we have removed standards, but this varies across sectors. 

We have removedsimplified or consolidated standards where possible. It is essential that the scheme keeps pace with changes in legislation, industry best practice and the demands of consumers, meaning any new or upgraded standards are entirely necessary. 

We received more than 3,000 pieces of feedback from across the Red Tractor food chain in the form of meetings, written questions, emails, phone calls and answers to the consultation survey making it the biggest and most transparent consultation ever.  


As a result of the consultation some proposals have been reshaped and others have been removed completely. 

Yes. We reviewed the more than 3,000 pieces of qualitative and quantitative feedback that was received, and this led to some proposals being reshaped or removed completely. Some new standards are included though. 


There was some disparity between respondents where they felt some of the proposals we were suggesting went too far, not far enough or shouldn’t be streamlined across multiple sectors. In some cases, this influenced our original approach, in others it led to some proposals being dropped. 

We will be sharing the new manuals and creating helpful guides so that you can see what our new standards entail. Please keep an eye on your post, emails and our website for updates.


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. 

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.  


We have comprehensive guides on what has changed and why in each sector. 

We did listen to our members, and we value their contribution. Our scheme’s core purpose is to reassure consumers that British food is traceable, safe and farmed with care. 


Meeting the needs of farmers, the supply chain and shoppers and diners is always a challenging balancing act, but we are pleased to have reached consensus and have the support of farming unions and associations. 

That isn’t the case. We took all respondents comments into consideration. However, it is important for Red Tractor to listen to the entire supply chain, and that does include retailers.  


We know that it is a delicate balance, but by involving them in the discussions means that our standards remain in tune with the latest industry needs that meet our customers and consumer expectations. 

All farms with workers 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. 

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. 

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. See a worked example of this document on the Red Tractor website.  

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. 

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. 

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. 


List of approved medicines training providers: 

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