In its regular look at the work of Red Tractor, Farmer finds out more about the importance of maintaining high standards despite an influx of import deals

BRITISH food and farming standards must be upheld,” said Red Tractor Beef and Lamb Chairman Alistair Mackintosh.

“It’s required by shoppers, and crucially it ensures that the food is produced safely and responsibly. In my role as Red Tractor Beef and Lamb Chairman, I will add my weight to keeping this a priority.

“Underpinned by Red Tractor’s standards, we have a lot to be proud about, and a lot of work to do to keep reminding consumers and customers of that in the future.”

.“The possibility that trade deals could undermine the solid foundation of trust we’ve worked hard to earn from consumers is galling,” added Mr Mackintosh.

Much of the detail and logistics of the deal are still to be finalised. For instance, we don’t yet know how products will be controlled at our borders. “However, looking at the situation with Europe following Brexit, work still needs to be done,” Mr Mackintosh said.

“Right now, it appears as though most imports from Europe are being accepted, whereas the Europeans are being quite strict about what they do and do not allow through. Until the UK government puts enough people in place to do all the essential checks and balances there will be some serious challenges to making sure that everything arriving on our shores meets our high standards.

“We know they there will be discussions about equivalence standards and that we face serious competition from foreign markets. However, I am confident that none have what we have – a whole chain assurance scheme that ensures traceability from farm to fork.”

Many farmers will be wondering what measures they can take to futureproof their businesses, whatever the specifics of this trade deal may turn out to be

Mr Macintosh would like to see farmers drive their businesses forward and thoroughly explore the opportunities a new era of environmental stewardship and a changing market will inevitably bring.

“Farmers will need to rethink their day-to-day operations to take into account their carbon footprint and emissions, but they are in a strong position to innovate and utilise their assets to do so,” he said. Making sure the consumer understands our core values is as important today as it will ever be.”