Dairy farmers – playing your part in protecting British Agriculture’s reputation

Comment from Red Tractor’s CEO

Scrutiny of food production is more intense than at any other point, for this reason, it is vital that the British dairy sector continues to meet the expectations of shoppers and diners. Achieving this protects the hard earned trust and loyalty that has built up over the last two decades since the dark days of the 1990s, when public trust in British food was at an all-time low.

Red Tractor is the bedrock of progressive farming in Britain – reassuring consumers that food that is traceable back to British farms, is safe, and produced responsibly. Our standards are based on the needs and expectations of consumers and the supply chain, encompassing UK legislation, scientific evidence, and best practice. That’s why our standards underpin major supermarket and dairy processor buying specifications.

Alongside farming unions and trade associations, Red Tractor is one of the industry’s biggest defenses against the rhetoric of animal rights activists, misinformation, and vilifying campaigns.

Red Tractor’s credibility is largely dependent on members and farm workers striving to continuously meet all standards. Doing so not only protects the reputation of an individual member’s own business, but the entire industry in which they play a vital role.

We know that standards might occasionally slip. So, in 2019, Red Tractor introduced a risk-based approach for dairy members which is based on the number and nature of any nonconformances. This helps the scheme to focus on struggling members and gives them a fair chance to get back on track. We have a fair and objective
approach to identify high-risk members, using the number and nature of any non-conformances to categorise their risk to the dairy industry’s reputation.

It is true that some breaches are not always detectable during inspections, which is why we have a number of ways for individuals to share their concerns with us, including our confidential ‘Tell Us’ reporting service.

Whenever there are reports of a failure to uphold Red Tractor’s standards, the team investigates, including any mitigating circumstances, and only acts when evidence is substantiated. No decision is ever taken lightly by the team, we know the profound implications any action we take can have on individuals and businesses.