As part of Prop 12, the US state of California has introduced improved welfare requirements covering the housing of sows and gilts. From 1 January 2024 producers supplying California must have a valid certificate of Prop 12 compliance.
The Prop 12 requirements include increased freedom of movement and housing space. Red Tractor’s existing ‘outdoor-bred’ Core Standards for pigs already meet these new higher welfare requirements in California. Indoor breeding farms providing additional space can also achieve Prop 12 certification.
As part of its ongoing work to achieve maximum market access for farmers, during 2023 Red Tractor has been focused on securing this export opportunity for UK pig farmers and processors.
Red Tractor CEO, Jim Moseley said: “Market access is a key goal for food chain assurance and Red Tractor has been working closely on this with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and NSF over recent months. I’m delighted that we can now offer UK pig farmers access to this important market for selling safe and traceable UK pork.
“We have explored all the different options for achieving this, including whether the CDFA could simply recognise the Red Tractor scheme directly. However, Californian legislation requires the independent assessment and certification body to be certified by CDFA.
“That’s why news that NSF has now been certified by CDFA is so significant. It makes it very easy for pig farmers and their processors to access the California market from January next year. As part of their existing Red Tractor assessment, they will be able to simply add the Prop 12 checks, where required, and have access to this important market for their pork.
“This is an important milestone for the pigs sector in this country. Hopefully it can be the start of a productive and ongoing new trading relationship. We’re encouraging the CDFA to visit the UK so that they can see first-hand the high standards our Red Tractor farmers work to.”
Dale Newitt, Director of Supply Chain Food Safety, NSF said: “NSF’s Prop 12 certification means British pork producers can now access the Californian market with greater confidence. This aligns perfectly with NSF’s mission to improve and protect human health, as healthier animals mean safer, higher quality meat for consumers. California consumes nearly 15% of all US pork, yet only produces 1%, so it relies heavily on imports from other states and internationally, which, in 2022, the US imported over £1.3 billion pork products.”