4 July 1997

Insist imports to UK


RETAILERS must insist that their foreign suppliers meet the same high quality assurance standards that are now expected from British producers, the NFU has warned.

At the launch of the joint NFU-retailer partnership for the horticulture sector, which involves independent auditing, union president, Sir David Naish, said farm assurance was vital for the whole agri-food chain.

"Without satisfied consumers we wont have the viable businesses required to meet consumers demands," he said.

That was why the NFU was so involved in not only the horticulture scheme, but also farm assurance for combineable crops, pigs, beef and lamb.

And the ultimate aim would be for independent inspectors to be able to monitor all the schemes, in order that farmers with mixed businesses would not have to have different inspectors for each of their enterprises. But, Sir David added: "We must expect the same level of farm assurance wherever food is sourced. That is the very least that our producers expect from the retailers."

Nigel Garbutt, who represents Safeway on the NFU-retailer horticulture partnership, said that was already in hand. The leading retailers were already working with their foreign suppliers to ensure that assurance protocols were applied. &#42

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