29 November 2000
‘Gold-plating’ cuts out small abattoirs
By FWi staff
AN OVER-ZEALOUS interpretation of standards is preventing small and medium abattoirs using the little red tractor assurance mark, it is claimed.
Norman Bagley, chairman of the Livestock Marketing Alliance, said such “gold-plating” made using the logo too expensive for smaller abattoirs.
The National Farmers Union launched the red tractor mark earlier this year as a British Farm Standard denoting hygiene, welfare and environment standards.
Although the logo is used by supermarkets, few abattoirs have adopted it, Mr Bagley told a Farmers Weekly seminar at the Royal Smithfield Show: “The little red tractor is supposed to be all-embracing, but if small and medium abattoirs are kept out of the game, it cant be a credible way forward.”
Mr Bagley contrasted the situation with the Quality Meat Scotland scheme, which he said was “universal” because it avoided “gold-plating” standards.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Bagley said abattoir owners told him that to meet British Farm Standard requirements would mean recruiting extra managerial staff.
He added that barely 30 of 350 small and medium abattoirs had applied to use the little red tractor. He added: “We want a scheme which is credible.”
But speaking at the same forum, Warwickshire farmer John Lampitt said that the little red tractor offered a basis for developing a single assurance scheme.
And Janet Godfrey, who chairs the Womens Farming Union said small abattoirs should ensure that they did carry the mark.