Most of the UK's main farm assurance schemes are following FSA (Food Standards Agency) guidance aimed at ensuring better information for consumers about food standards.
Farm assurance schemes are mostly voluntary arrangements managed by the food industry. Each scheme sets certain standards for food production and aims to give consumers greater confidence about the food they buy.
The schemes cover things that might be important for anyone buying a particular food product, including food safety, organic production and animal welfare issues. Members of each scheme can use a logo on their products to tell consumers that these meet the scheme's independently assessed production standards.
The production standards cover:
Animal welfare issues
Producers have regular, independent checks to ensure that they are following the rules. The schemes are designed to assure consumers that farmers are producing food to legal requirements and to an agreed set of standards relating to good agricultural practice.
What are Assured Food Standards? Assured Food Standards are comprehensive and detailed requirements based on commercially acceptable best practice. They vary according to the produce concerned.
|With Freedom Food the emphasis is on higher welfare standards for livestock.|
|The Leaf Marque scheme which applies to fruit and vegetable produce, has higher environmental standards using an integrated approach of conventional and organic methods.|
|Organic schemes, of which the Soil Association is the best know, address the chemical inputs (fertiliser and pesticide use) in crops, veterinary medicines in livestock production and animal welfare issues.|