ASSURED FOOD Standards has received the FARMERS WEEKLY/FWi Red Tape award after Verifier Vitriol was voted top of the FWi Red Tape Rage board .

FWi users found nit-picking assurance scheme verifiers and protocols the most blood-boiling aspect of the creeping tide of red tape threatening to overwhelm farmers.


Jonathan Tipples, NFU representative on the AFS board, begrudgingly accepted the award at Cereals 2004 on behalf of the organisation that is responsible for setting UK farm assurance standards.

“There are farmers on the boards of all farm assurance schemes,” he pointed out.

“So if anyone has any specific complaints about a verifier or a standard, they should raise it with the relevant scheme.”

Overall 130 users voted on the red tape rage board, ranking 10 top items of red tape madness according to how unnecessary, pedantic, over-zealous, nit-picking, duplicated, or frustrating they found them.

Verifier vitriol came head and shoulders above the rest, with a total blood boilability score of 323°.

Next on the list of bureaucratic binds most likely to get a farmer‘s goat was the DEFRA census, and other commercial surveys, closely followed by LERAPS.

But few farmers rate Inland Revenue and IACS form-filling as much more than mildly irritable, according to the rage board results.

Payroll Purgatory, VAT spat and IACS headaches were rated lowest on the blood boilability scale.