Red Tractor launches meat processing scheme

Red Tractor Assurance (RTA) has launched a new meat processing scheme, which will extend its remit across the pig sector and provide a single standard suitable for single and multi-species plants.  

The RTA already has a scheme covering the slaughter and cutting of beef and lamb, but has increased the scope of the scheme to include the slaughter and cutting of assured pigs, cutting of assured chicken and turkey, the manufacture of assured pork sausages and the slicing and handling of assured cooked meats.

Until now, assured standards for the key pigmeat product groups with the Red Tractor consumer logo have been owned and managed by the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA). However, the new RTA scheme is intended to complement and run alongside the existing BMPA scheme, which caters primarily for larger processors, by aiming itself at small to medium-sized multi-species plants. It said that the new scheme is an all-encompassing standard that will benefit wholesalers, catering butchers and smaller multi-species cutting plants who had fallen outside the scope of the BMPA scheme. However the RTA has recognised that the BMPA scheme may remain the preferred route for larger plants.

Anita Roberts, Red Tractor’s head of assurance, said: “The new scheme tackles vitally important assurance issues, such as food safety and animal welfare, through robust standards that are specific to the meat processing sector. It applies common standards across this critical part of the supply chain from the slaughter of assured animals to the handling, cutting and packing of both raw and cooked meats.”
“Traceability must be maintained right through the process.”

”The new traceability standards insist that plants have systems in place to ensure different product streams are kept separate and clearly labelled. It is vital that the Red Tractor logo is only applied to the correct products and never used on products that do not meet the assurance standards. Our independent assessors will carry out regular checks to make sure this happens.”
Tony Goodger, Bpex trade sector manager for foodservice, said: “This development is welcome because it plugs two important gaps in the supply of assured pork into the foodservice market. First it facilitates the processing of assured pigs through smaller plants, which can now be certified to the new standards. Secondly, it provides an appropriate standard for wholesalers, cutting plants and catering butchers, which will maintain the chain of assurance from both large and small processors right through to the foodservice business."

The new scheme came into effect on 1 May 2012.