18 January 2002

Tougher rules for logo use?

FARMERS could face stricter environmental rules if they want their produce to display the Little Red Tractor logo designed to promote British food.

Assured Food Standards, which is responsible for overseeing the logo, is preparing to appoint a body to look at how the schemes standards compare to existing and forthcoming environmental regulations.

"We want to look at getting a benchmark, common standard established across all schemes that will proactively address environmental concerns," said NFU director on the AFS board Jonathan Tipples.

The tractor logo was developed by the NFU and launched by Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2000. Since then it has come under fire from environmental groups for not addressing consumer concerns.

The AFS board is also keen to ensure the logo underpins environmental regulations that may result from the policy commission review of farming and the pesticide stewardship proposals. The logo is also under scrutiny by the Food Standards Agency.

But Mr Tipples was keen to point out that AFS has no power to change standards for individual schemes, such as Assured Combinable Crops and Farm Assured British Beef and Lamb.

The research body, once appointed, will consult over the next few months. It is due to report back in the summer. Any changes in standards could come in as early as autumn 2002. &#42 ∫Ç