Farm shop standard
A NEW quality assurance scheme for farm shops starts next week as inspectors begin to visit businesses throughout Great Britain.
The scheme, organised by the accreditation agency Les Routiers and the Farm Retail Association, aims to "enhance customers perceptions of farm shops," according to Rita Exner, editor of the associations magazine Retail Farmer. "Independent inspections of farm shops will highlight the three key areas of quality, value and service."
Farm shops applying for accreditation will be assessed by professional inspectors after unannounced visits. These will prepare a report on the farm shops effectiveness judged on the basis of hygiene standards, quality of produce, presentation and service.
Farm shops which meet Les Routiers standards will be entitled to display authorisation plaques and logos on leaflets. Shops which do not reach the required standards will receive a further inspection.
"The scheme is intended to be constructive, not critical, and help everyone to achieve the best possible standards with their site, facilities and range of products on offer," said Ms Exner.
The FRA aims to accredit about 30 farm shops in the first year of operation and accreditation will be valid for two years. Inspections cost £75. *