Food firms sign up to voluntary cattle code of practice

By Laurence Gibbons contact

- Last updated on GMT

The cattle code of practice should improve openness in the supply chain
The cattle code of practice should improve openness in the supply chain

Related tags: Red tractor, Meat

Morrisons and 2 Sisters Food Group are among the firms signing up to a new voluntary processor code of practice for the purchase of cattle in a bid to enhance transparency and trust in the supply chain.

ABP Food Group and Dovecote Park are other companies backing the code set by the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA).

It commits individual processors to being open and clear about their company’s terms and conditions of trading and to give 12 weeks’ notice should they change.

It does not include any rules on pricing.

Food and farming minister George Eustice said the code would improve people’s confidence in the food supply chain.

Step forward

“It is a good step forward and I encourage processors to commit to it and retailers and renderers to get behind it and give it their support,”​ he said.

“I commend the positive and constructive discussions between the BMPA and the NFU that have led to the introduction of this voluntary code of practice, which aims to increase transparency and trust between processors and livestock producers in the beef supply chain.”

Retailers, foodservice companies and other food manufacturers should operate according to the code to minimise volatility and uncertainty in the supply chain, the NFU claimed.

Food firms supporting the code

  • ABP Food Group
  • Dovecote Park
  • Kepak Group
  • Randall Parker Foods
  • 2 Sisters Food Group
  • Woodheads/Wm Morrison Supermarkets

“What is critical to our members is the stability that this code should bring, which will allow producers to plan ahead and market their cattle without sudden or unexpected changes to conditions of sale,”​ the NFU’s livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said.

“We hope this will help beef producers to manage the volatility we have seen in recent years and provide a clearer understanding of the terms and conditions that are on offer.”

Improvements

BMPA president, Peter Mitchell, said: “Signing up to the code is a visible sign of … a commitment to constructive relations with beef producers in order to improve the efficiency of the beef supply chain and so together we can better meet the needs of the marketplace.”  

Steve Durrant, vice chairman of the renderers association, FABRA UK, welcomed the new code.

“All efforts to improve transparency and promote fair and responsible trade should be applauded.”

Meanwhile, the Red Tractor quality assurance scheme revealed plans to only accredit cattle that had spent their whole lives on Red Tractor farms.

Under current rules animals are accredited after 90 days on a Red Tractor assured farm.

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