From November this year Red Tractor will audit the physical elements of the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group Livestock Code Practice at the same time as completing the farms routine Red Tractor assessment.

Combining these audits will lighten the load for 450 Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group (TSDG) members concerned.

Thomas Atkins, Tesco Agriculture Manager, commented: “Following a service provider review we have now agreed that future TSDG auditing will be managed via Red Tractor.  Moving forwards future TSDG audits will be completed at the same time as dairy farmers’ routine Red Tractor assessment. We have reviewed the TSDG standards and removed a number of standards which we believe duplicate the Red Tractor Dairy Standards. We are really proud of the work TSDG farmers do to prioritise health and welfare on their farms. We continue to work closley with our dairy farmers to ensure high welfare standards while looking to cut red tape where possible”. 

Dairy farmer and Tesco supplier Will Hosford, commented on the news: “This is a welcome change for Tesco dairy farmers like me, as it means we no longer have to have a separate annual TSDG visit by another inspector. The Red Tractor audit is the only one we need where the TSDG elements will also be checked.” 

Philippa Wiltshire, Red Tractor Head of Operations, commented: “Tesco giving responsibility to Red Tractor for their auditing moving forward is a huge vote of confidence in the way Red Tractor operates.   We are always looking to strike a balance between the level of assurance that food customers and retailers need to demonstrate to consumers and finding ways to reduce the audit burden for farmers. Technology is improving Red Tractor’s ability to reduce administration and duplication for members allowing them to share documents and data where necessary with their customers. We are keen to offer other businesses in the Red Tractor supply chain similar opportunities to help and support our farmer members.” 

As part of Tesco’s acknowledgement of Red Tractor, dairy producers will upload TSDG documentation onto The Portal – Red Tractor’s digital records tool. Files uploaded to The Portal will be reviewed by processors allowing the on-farm audits to really focus on animal husbandry.   

This acknowledgement echoes Tesco’s 2018 recognition of Red Tractor’s Fresh Produce standards as being equivalent to it Nurture scheme, benefitting around 800 Red Tractor fruit and vegetable suppliers.