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FAQs

The Red Tractor team of experts has put together a page of FAQs, covering all aspects of our business and what we stand for.

About Red Tractor

Who are Red Tractor?

We are a not-for-profit company dedicated to improving the quality of the food and drink you eat. We make sure that food is traceable, safe and farmed with care – so everyone can feel confident and good about their choices when shopping and eating out.

What do Red Tractor do?

Established in 2000 after a spate of food scares which included BSE and outbreaks of salmonella, Red Tractor was created to transform and rebuild trust in British farming and food quality, by improving standards of safety and quality for UK-farmed food. We are the UK’s largest food standards scheme and the only one to cover all areas of food production from animal welfare and food safety to traceability and environmental protection. Simply put, from farm to packet.

We employ independent companies to undertake Red Tractor inspections, to ensure that they are outside of industry influence and impartial. Our team of assessors perform more than 60,000 checks a year across the supply chain to safeguard how animals are tended to, how fresh produce is grown and how our standards are being followed from field to basket for food and drinks that carry our logo in stores and restaurants.

Our Standards are considered to be the industry benchmark, with all major supermarkets using them as part of their food sourcing and supplier specifications.

How does Red Tractor operate?

We are a not-for-profit company set up by the UK food industry to transform and rebuild trust in the British farming and food quality. We are independent, with our own staff and corporate board which included experts from all farm and food sectors, animal health and welfare.

The costs to run Red Tractor are met by fees and licence payments from farmers and food companies. All Red Tractor assessments are carried out by independent companies to ensure that they are outside of industry influence and impartial.

About our standards

What do Red Tractor standards cover?

The Red Tractor label can only be used on food and drink that has been produced, packed, stored and transported in the UK.

We cover a growing number of food and drinks that are farm produced such as fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry and crop-based products such as flour, breakfast cereals and even beer. Our standards cover the key points that we all care about when selecting our food including traceability, safety, animal welfare and environmental protection.

Our Standards are considered to be the industry benchmark, with all major supermarkets using them as part of their food sourcing and supplier specifications.

You can read more about our standards here.

Do your standards allow unstunned meat?

To receive Red Tractor certification all animals must be stunned prior to slaughter, without exception, in line with UK law.

Red Tractor standards are developed using the guidelines of the Humane Slaughter Association; this means the stun and its duration must render the animal unconscious to ensure they remain insensible to pain and do not regain consciousness. The same process is used by other assurance schemes including RSPCA Assured.

What are Red Tractor’s standards on Animal Welfare?

Animal welfare is one of our highest priorities and we take our Standards in this area very seriously in order to ensure that our animals have the right living space, food and water to keep them healthy.

We require our farmers to meet a number of standards that are over and above the legislation. This includes more living space for chickens than the UK regulations, environmental enhancement in barns to encourage natural behaviours for chickens; over the years this has led to a dramatic reduction in the use of antibiotics and improved animal health.

What are Red Tractor’s standards on use of antibiotics?

Red Tractor is a leader in limiting the use of antibiotics responsible antibiotic approach. ‘Growth promoters’ that are still used in some parts of the world are never used by British farmers.

Our scheme operates on a prevention basis, so that housing conditions, nutrition, hygiene and animal care are continually managed.

Red Tractor is a leading member of the alliance for Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture, which brings together experts from across the food and farming industry with veterinarians and provides sound advice on best practice to limit use.

What are Red Tractor’s standards on environmental protection?

We know that for Red Tractor accredited farmers, their land is their office and often their home. They care about the British countryside as much as we do and have a desire to look after it.

Fertilisers and pesticides are only used when it is absolutely essential to keep crops healthy and always in a manner that reduces the risk of pollution and impact on wildlife.

We insist on robust water stewardship, any water used on crops and produce must be fit for human consumption and the farmer must be able to justify why it was used in the first place.

About our food

Where can I buy Red Tractor Food?

Red Tractor food is available from all major UK supermarkets and a growing number of restaurants and pubs when eating out. As our standards cover a vast number of UK food and drinks, you can find us on meat, fruit, vegetable and dairy as well as on prepared foods such as ready meals, breakfast cereals, bread and even beer. Look for the Red Tractor on food packaging and on menus.

How do you ensure that the Red Tractor label is used correctly?

The Red Tractor label can only be used on ingredients from farmers, growers and food processors that have been inspected and certified to our standards. Food businesses must be approved and licensed by Red Tractor before they can use our label. Packers must keep records of incoming food from Red Tractor farms to share at our assessments and allow full traceability back to the farms of origin.

We conduct more than 60,000 checks each year to regularly ensure our farms, packers, processors and the whole supply chain for any products carrying our label meet the standards we set.

What do the different Red Tractor labels mean?

Products carrying this logo must be made using at least 95% of just one Red Tractor ingredient:

 

Products carrying this logo must be made up of at least 65% of a single Red Tractor ingredient and this must be clearly written on their pack. For example, ‘potato’ in a potato salad:

 

Products carrying this logo are usually ready meals which contains less than 65% of a Red Tractor ingredient, but it is still the key ingredient of the product. For example the chicken in a chicken pie:

 

Look out for the Red Tractor label in all major supermarkets. Your can also find us in pubs & restaurants including: