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6 Jan 2021
Red Tractor is consulting on proposals for version 5 of the Red Tractor standards which will come into effect in November 2021.
One proposal is to include Farming Rules for Water, already in legislation, which aim to reduce soil erosion and nutrient run-off. The requirements have been adapted from the legal requirements to ensure that they are meaningful and can be assessed easily.
Worker welfare is another aspect being built into the standards to protect the safety and welfare of workers on farm.
Suggested changes to the format of the standards aim to improve clarity for growers to understand what is required and to assist auditors when they assess growers against the standards.
Proposed changes to fresh produce standards
As well the above changes across all sectors, the following are changes are proposed specifically for fresh produce standards:
Members will see a new framework to the standards. There will be 10 core sections which apply to all farms, five operational area-based modules (assessed only where relevant) and two crop-specific modules.
There has also been a reworking of the produce handling and packhouse packing section to allow this to cover rig-based packing operations and streamline assessment where a valid BRC certificate is held.
Existing standards have been reviewed to take into account site risk assessments and post-harvest water management.
Additions have been made to reflect new growing techniques and non-traditional cropping systems such as vertical farms and hydroponics.
There would be new standards for the management of nitrate concentration in crops where legal parameters apply and two new standards to cover post-harvest treatments in the post-CIPC era.
Several new standards are proposed to further strengthen food safety. They include daily start-up checks for harvest teams and two new standards concerning recirculation and re-use of post-harvest water.
A What Matters to You survey is available online to seek views or FPC members can let us have your views and we will respond on your behalf.
For details visit the Red Tractor Assurance website here.
The deadline for responses to the consultation is 5 March 2021.