MARKS & SPENCER has unveiled plans for a new livestock quality assurance scheme, likely to be launched later this summer.

Eleven years on from the launch of its “Select Farms” initiative, and after its “Field to Fork” code of practice for fresh produce, the food retailer now believes the various assurance schemes in place are “too much of a tick-box approach”.

Head of agriculture Paul Willgoss said: “Our customers have expressed a desire for one clear approach across all livestock sectors, which stands for a single set of principles.

“We will be looking at issues our customers have told us they are concerned about, such as animal welfare, the environment and social responsibility,” he said.

The new scheme will cover beef, lamb, dairy produce, farmed fish and poultry including ducks and eggs.