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June 2, 2020

UK food standards group Red Tractor to bring in new chicken welfare labels

Red Tractor Food Assurance, a UK food standards organisation, is to change the way that chickens are labelled, it has announced.

By Leonie Barrie

Red Tractor Food Assurance, a UK food standards organisation, has introduced a new range of labels for chicken which will indicate how it has been produced.

It said the Enhanced Welfare labels will allow farmers to sell their products through the Red Tractor accreditation, whichever farming method they use.

The labels are intended to “simplify the experience of shoppers and diners,” the body added.  

It said the new labels will offer a “one-stop solution” for people looking for specific production methods for food that is also grown or reared to safe, traceable, high animal welfare and environmental standards.

“At present, consumers are faced with a host of logos and claims on menus and on pack, which create duplication and cause confusion. For two decades, Red Tractor has fulfilled a mainstream demand for safe and affordable food. However, increasingly consumers are demanding a greater choice and for the scheme to clearly differentiate how some of the product carrying its label is produced,” it said.

The new marques retain the union flag, the tractor with the heart in the wheel sitting on a ‘tick’, but replaces the words Certified Standards from the core logo with the farming method used. Each new marque will have its own colour: Free Range for Chicken is orange, Enhanced Welfare for Chicken is purple and Organic is green.

Red Tractor CEO Jim Moseley said: “Grounded in the values of the Red Tractor scheme – animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection – this is an important broadening of the scheme, which for 20 years has, and continues to, transform and build trust in British farming and food quality.

‘Over the last 18 months we have been focused on how we can provide greater choice and clarity for those shoppers and diners who are looking to buy British produce grown and reared to recognised production methods, with the added confidence that it’s been checked every step of the way from farm to pack.”

Tracey Jones, director of food business at Compassion in World Farming, said: “We welcome the introduction of the Enhanced Welfare module as it will help companies across all sectors uplift their auditing and promote their higher welfare credentials to their customers.”

The new labels will begin to roll out across foodservice and retail over the next 12 months.  

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