ACCS probes grain fiddle claims

28 September 2001

ACCS probes grain fiddle claims


ASSURED Combinable Crops has employed an independent investigator to look into claims that non-assured grain is being sold on as assured.

The appointment follows assertions by growers that part-loads of ACCS wheat, destined for all-assured mills, have been topped up with unassured grain.

Growers also suspect that end-users, faced with this years lower UK supply, are backtracking on earlier statements that they would take assured grain only.

“Ive heard that loads are leaving farm unassured and arriving at their destinations as assured,” ACCS chairman Tony Pexton told FWi.

He confirmed that the scheme has “put a ferret in the system” to follow loads from farm to a number of maltsters, millers and feed compounders.

“If end-users are demanding assured, they must get true assured grain. If they are receiving transformed grain, that is completely unacceptable.”

In one incident, a company operating under the Trade Assurance Scheme TASCC was alleged to be storing non-assured wheat and out-loading it as assured.

The claims were investigated by the UK Agricultural Supply Trade Association, but no proof was found and the company was given a stern warning.

“We receive many allegations,” says UKASTA company secretary Jeremy Smith.

“This reflects the competition in the merchant and haulage trade, so we have to be careful about which ones warrant action,”

But a number of cereal producers, like Kent grower and ACCS member Ross Douglas, have told FWi that this is far from just hearsay.

“My neighbour who is not assured has suffered a good 2/t penalty on price, yet his and my wheat have been going on the same lorry,” says Mr Douglas.

End-users who have been accused of unwittingly or knowingly accepting non-assured grain as assured, claim there is no proof of bad practice.

“To my knowledge every single parcel we take in is assured,” says Mark Hughes, Allied Mills wheat director.

“We have rejected a number of loads for misrepresentation. Where it does happen we hold those responsible to account.”

Rank Hovis wheat director Peter Jones says the firm has accepted only assured grain since last harvest.

Meanwhile the ACCS investigator is due to deliver his findings to the schemes board shortly.

Mr Pexton confirmed that he will be discussing the matter with UKASTA but refused to be drawn on whether the findings will be made public.

  • Do you share the concerns of other growers?
  • Do you believe you may have witnessed non-assured grain being traded on as assured?
  • Or do you believe the trade and end-users have been unfairly misrepresented?
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