Logos and Marks to Look For
Red Tractor - Assured Food Standards
The Red Tractor mark can be found on chicken, pork, lamb, beef, fruit, vegetables, salad, flour, sugar and dairy products. It indicates that the food can be traced back to farms producing under Assured Food Standards (AFS).
Standards for fruit, vegetables, salad, flour and sugar cover all aspects of the production process including the need for safe food storage and transport. The emphasis is on good practice in relation to protecting the environment.
Freedom from hunger and thirst - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain the animals' full health and vigour.
Freedom from discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
Freedom from pain, injury or disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
Freedom to express normal behaviour - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind.
Freedom from fear and distress - by ensuring conditions and care which avoid mental suffering
AFS guarantees that products featuring the Union Jack attached to the Red Tractor logo have been born, raised, slaughtered, grown, prepared and packaged entirely within the UK and in accordance with their strict standards.
For further information, please visit www.redtractor.org.uk/home
Quality Standard Mark
The mark can be found on meat, poultry, salmon, dairy and egg products from farm animals.
It indicates that the food has been produced according to the RSPCA's welfare standards. These are based on the Five Freedoms (listed above) and are applied to each stage of an animal's life, including rearing, handling, transportation and slaughter. The RSPCA maintains that their standards are more comprehensive than the welfare requirements of current UK and EU legislation.
The RSPCA welfare standards can be applied to indoor, outdoor, free range and organic farming. In the case of free range, the standards set out a number of additional requirements
Regular traceability checks are carried out on the whole production process from farm to shop shelf to ensure that everyone involved in the production of Freedom Food labelled products has been approved by the scheme.
Whilst the majority (if not all) of the foods carrying this quality mark are produced in the UK, this is not actually part of the criteria. In theory foods from abroad could come under the scheme but any application would have to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
RSPCA Assured is the new name for RSPCA Freedom Food and was re-branded in 2015
For more information please visit www.rspcaassured.org.uk
LEAF Marque Linking Environment and Farming
The LEAF Marque is found on fresh, seasonal produce - fruit, vegetable, meat and even flower products. The Marque confirms that the food has been produced in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way, based on the holistic principles of Integrated Farm Management.
Some ways LEAF Marque farmers care for the environment:
- Carefully managing hedgerows to provide habitats and food for wildlife.
- Using pesticides and fertilisers only when absolutely necessary.
- Leaving a strip of land between hedgerows and crops to act as habitat for wildlife.
- Recycling on-farm waste and conserving energy.
- Improving water efficiency and quality.
The Marque represents produce that is certified to a standard. It does not represent country of origin; this is displayed independently of the Marque.
For more information about the LEAF Marque visit www.leafmarque.com/leaf/home.eb
Pasture Fed Livestock Association "Pasture for Life"
The Pasture-Fed Livestock Association is a farmer-led organisation that promotes the health, welfare and environmental benefits of raising cattle and sheep exclusively on grass and forage crops.
They launched the Pasture for Life logo in early 2015. Farmers and butchers who follow the association’s production standards, can apply the ‘Pasture for Life’ mark to their food products when selling to the public.
For more information visit: www.pastureforlife.org
Free Range Dairy Pasture Promise
The Free Range Dairy Network is a Community Interest Company with a social mission to promote the value of pasture based milk production on British dairy farms for the benefit of farmers, cows and consumers. It is a way to secure a future for the industry as farmers are increasingly driven to develop large scale, intensive units in pursuit of economies of scale and a way for consumers to purchase milk from a farming system they support.
Pasture Promise farmers commit to keeping their cows in the fields for at least six months of the year and the Free Range Dairy Network ensures a dedicated milk collection from farms, guaranteeing that Pasture Promise milk is processed and bottled separately from intensively farmed milk.
For more information visit: www.freerangedairy.org
Golden Turkey Quality Assurance Guarantee
Golden Turkey is the Quality Assurance Guarantee for The Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association, a group of around 50 independent farmers across the
UK, supplying free-range, free-range bronze and barn-reared turkeys specifically for the festive season.
The Association was formed in 1984 by like-minded farmers who won’t settle for second best when it comes to Christmas turkeys.
The turkeys are not available from supermarkets, only direct from the farms, butchers and online.
The Golden Turkey Quality Assurance Guarantee supports high welfare standards, production on family farms and great taste.
For more information please visit: www.goldenturkeys.co.uk
Soil Association Organic Standard
There are a number of organic certification bodies approved by Defra. Each has a unique UK code. The main body is the Soil Association, Organic Certification UK.
The Soil Association certifies organic food and farming, organic textiles and organic beauty products and their organic logo appears on approximately 80% of organic food produced in UK. The organic standards cover animal welfare, conservation and GM. The Association runs an organic standards setting programme to write, update and modify the rules and regulations for organic production and processing as necessary. As a result of this rigorous standards setting process some of their standards are higher than those given by the law for organic food.
Legally a certification logo does not have to appear on packaging, but it must have a certification code. Organic products from EU countries will carry their own certification code. Organic products from outside Europe may not have a country specific code in which case the importer can apply for certification from one of the approved bodies. Therefore, a UK code does not necessarily mean item was produced in UK.
For more information please visit www.soilassociation.org
Food Made Good Sustainability Rating
The Food Made Good Sustainability Rating is a 3-Star rating.
For more information please visit: http://www.thesra.org/our-sustainability-framework/
Marine Stewardship Council EcoLabel
The MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means that:
- It comes from a wild-catch fishery which has been independently certified to the MSC’s science-based standard for environmentally sustainable fishing.
- It’s fully traceable to a sustainable source.
The MSC certifies 45% of wild-caught fish in the UK as sustainable, and shoppers in the UK can choose from more than 1,100 products that carry the MSC ecolabel. Globally, more than 250 fisheries in over 30 countries are certified to the MSC’s Standard.
For more information please visit www.msc.org
EU Protected Food Names
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO): Products with this mark must be produced, processed and prepared in the geographical area from which they originate. The quality or characteristics are essentially due to that area. British examples are: Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, Single Gloucester, Lakeland Herdwick Lamb and Fal Oysters.
Protected Geographical Indication (PGI): Products with this mark must be produced or processed or prepared within the geographical area. Specific quality, reputation or other characteristics attributable to that area. British examples are: Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, Herefordshire Cider, Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar and Fenland Celery.
Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG): Names must be specific in itself or express the specific character of the foodstuff. Must be traditional, or established by custom. Distinguishing featers of the product must notbe due to the geapgraphical area this product is produced in nor entirely based on technical advances in the method of production. British examples are: Traditional Farm fresh Turkey,Traditionally Farmed Gloucestershire Old Spot Pork.
The marks can only be used on products for which a successful application to the EU has been made. Not all the ingredients used in marked products have to be locally sourced or, theoretically, even from the country from which the product comes. From May 2009, every product that has a protected food name will be required to show the appropriate logo and/or wording.
For more information about EU protected foods visit http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_en.htm or https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/protected-food-name-scheme-uk-registered-products
The National Farmers' Retail & Markets Association suggests that the radius for ‘local food’ is up to thirty miles but this is not prescriptive. Sourcing locally helps you know that the food and drink you are buying is fully traceable back to the producer and that you are supporting your local economy.
Don't be afraid to ask shop assistants and waiters for more information about where they buy their food and drink, especially if they have just used the words ‘local food’ on their point of sale material and menus. We encourage retailers and caterers to be as specific as possible and suggest that they name the producers and farms or at least use generic phrases such as ‘All the meat served comes from farms within 30 miles of this shop/restaurant’.
‘Artisanal’ and ‘artisan produce’ are terms used to describe products for which special knowledge and skills are required to make them properly. Production is generally small-scale and the recipes and techniques used tend to be based on traditional foods and skills. Local farmers' markets are a good starting point for finding artisan producers in your area.
If you have any queries or concerns about assurance schemes and quality marks, please contact the Food Standards Agency (visit www.food.gov.uk)
Increasingly, many of the regions in the UK are producing their own distinctive logos for instance the New Forest area.
This is the New Forest Marque logo - a recognised trademark of true local food within the New Forest Boundary. They audit all their members to ensure that they comply with the criteria.