300 pig farmers must find new Red Tractor assessor

About 300 pig farmers will have to find a new certification body for Red Tractor inspections after assessor SAI Global gave notice to quit the sector.

With updates to the Red Tractor pig scheme introduced on 1 October, the assurance body said it had been liaising with SAI to ensure it delivers the Red Tractor schemes in accordance with its procedures.

But SAI has decided it will not continue with the process and will stop routine assessments on pig farms by the end of December.

“The Red Tractor Pigs Scheme represents a small proportion of our business,” said Paul Phyall, director UK & Ireland, assurance, at SAI Global.

“Our priority now is the wellbeing of our members and we will do everything we can to support them during this transition and ensure they are not adversely affected by this change.

“This is why we are working very closely with Red Tractor and other certification bodies to ensure the transition is seamless and certification is maintained throughout the process.”

SAI Global stressed that this only affects the pigs scheme and that it was very much operational for all the other schemes and bolt-on inspections that apply to them. 

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SAI said it had already contacted all affected members by letter and in some cases by phone.

The Red Tractor statement added: “We have worked with SAI to agree a process for transferring these members to a new certification body of their choice and will monitor the whole process carefully.”

It said it was important that members were free to choose which certification body to switch to, adding that existing assessors, Lloyds Register and NSF, have confirmed they can take on the additional members.

What happens next?

The NPA reported that SAI will continue to carry out any inspections due before the end of the year. SAI will also honour any unannounced spot checks that need to be done, the NPA said.

However, it warned that any members with inspections due before 1 January 2020 would not be able to transfer to a new certification body until inspections were completed and outstanding non-conformances had been signed off.

Members who are not due an inspection will be asked to identify a new certification body to transfer to now, the NPA said.

“The member will not have to pay anything extra or lose any certification as a result and all members will continue to get the inspections they require.

“SAI is managing the direct communications and each member will get a bespoke ‘next steps’ document so they know what they individually need to do,” the NPA advised.

Further information

Red Tractor and SAI Global have provided helplines and email contacts for producers affected.

SAI Global

Red Tractor