A recent global study of farm assurance schemes, the first of its kind, has seen Red Tractor come out on top.
Conducted independently over the past six months by Nuffield Scholar, Dr Jonathan Birnie, the results were announced at an event in the House of Lords last week.
As part of his research, Dr Birnie looked at several prominent global schemes, covering those for organic as well as conventional producers.
The results, Red Tractor say, show the ‘breadth and depth of Red Tractor to be second-to-none’, particularly in areas such as traceability and food safety.
Dr Birnie, who holds a PhD from the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland (now AFBI) and Queens University, has worked for Sainsbury’s and Dunbia.
Red Tractor CEO, Jim Moseley, says: “Our standards are world-class as is evidenced by this research and increases our determination to be the flagship of British food and farming.
"Our vision and the work we are already implementing to develop standards in certain areas will place Red Tractor firmly at the centre of UK agriculture worldwide."
Despite the findings, Liz Bowles, associate director for farming and land use at the Soil Association said organic and RSPCA assured certification schemes deliver 'far superior standards when it comes to animal welfare.'
“This new report, commissioned by Red Tractor, highlights that the scheme is world leading in terms of traceability.
"But the Soil Association organic logo provides a guarantee for a farming system that works with nature and has the highest standards of animal welfare, where animals are truly free range and are never routinely treated with antibiotics.
"Organic also means fewer pesticides, no artificial additives or preservatives and no GM ingredients.”