Red Tractor proposes tighter standards for seed potato growers

Red Tractor assurance is calling for potato growers to have their say on proposed changes to its Safe Haven Standards for seed.

The assurance body has released the revised standards under consultation and wants feedback from both the seed and ware sectors by 4 October.

See also: Red Tractor announces tougher dairy farm standards

Within the 24 standards, eight are new and these cover areas such as closer monitoring of water use and crop storage.

Proposed new standards 

  • Farm maps must be available on-site showing all sites, including rented land
  • Systems must be in place that deliver seed and ware potato traceability through the unit
  • Water usage records must be kept
  • Documented risk assessments undertaken for all water use on the whole unit
  • Access to units must be limited to essential visitors and movement records kept
  • Storage areas must be cleaned annually
  • Red Tractor must be informed if ring rot, Dickeya, brown rot or Epitirix are found
  • Monitoring and recording of temperature and humidity in stores is recommended

About 60% of UK seed growers are certified by the standards, which were introduced after a ring rot outbreak, introduced in Dutch seed in 2003.

Dickeya monitoring was then included in a previous revision and the latest review will add brown rot and Epitrix to the list. 

Red Tractor said the changes were part of a regular review to ensure grower protection was maintained.

It added that potential changes in trade increased the need to strengthen the scheme and enhance the reputation of British seed potatoes.

Red Tractor will consider all responses before finalising the standards ahead of implementation in spring 2020.

Have your say

Feedback is invited via an online form before noon on Friday 4 October 

Red Tractor has produced a document detailing the changes to the Safe Haven Standards