8 November 2001
Food agency investigates tractor logo

By Isabel Davies

THE Food Standards Agency has launched an investigation into the British Farm Standards Little Red Tractor food labelling logo.

The Food Standards Agency announced a review into the logo and other food labels in its submission to the commission on the future of farming.

The decision follows research by the agency which revealed low recognition and understanding by consumers of various food labelling schemes.

Agency chairman Sir John Krebs said the review would look at whether the schemes impact adversely on price, consumer choice or information.

“Industry assurance schemes have a role in promoting consumer choice in the market, but it is essential that this choice is both clear and meaningful.

We want more truth, less hype.

The agency has said that it wants to make sure developments in agriculture do not exacerbate the difficulties faced by low-income consumers.

It believes assurance schemes only build consumer confidence if they are transparent, independently verified and offer clear benefits to the consumer.

Assured Food Standards, which runs the red tractor scheme, said it was keen that consumers should understand the standards behind the logo.

Research had already shown that some 30% of shoppers recognised it – not a bad record after only 18 months of operation, said chairman Chris Barnes