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Importance of Quality Assurance Schemes
Food assurance schemes help to define standards that most producers in the sector need to meet, so as to raise the overall standards of the entire sector. Two schemes with recognisable logos are the Assured Food Standards (Red Tractor) scheme for an extensive range of products and the British Lion mark for eggs produced to the highest standard of food safety.
Initial efforts to control the quality of produce began during the Middle Ages, when guilds were responsible for the quality of goods and services their members offered, and they set particular standards for guild membership.
In modern times, independent inspectors audit producers and processors to ensure all rules are being followed. In the UK, these standards are followed rigorously to assure both ingredient quality and proper packaging.
Assured Food Standards (AFS) oversees Red Tractor producers, carrying out independent inspections in order to confirm businesses meet specific standards. This independent UK whole chain food assurance scheme deals with high standards of animal welfare, food safety, and environmental protection, with completedocumentation, from farm to pack.
Their logo is a leading quality kitemark in the UK, covering a wide variety of schemes, with the majority of food being processed and packed in Britain, evident by the Union Jack flag. The logo appears on products like dairy (milk, cream, and cheese), sugar, cereals and flour, fruit, vegetables, salads and meat.
With different sector standards unified under one AFS umbrella, the Red Tractor is able to provide reassurances that high food standards are being met and that food is checked every step of the way from farm to pack, which allows it to be traced back to the farm source.
Highlighting the main ingredient of food with more than one ingredient is also under Red Tractor’s scope, and a mixed ingredient food has to meet certain requirements, including being named, being 100% assured (without other main ingredients from non-assured sources), comprising at least 65% of the total product, and coming from the usual assured chain.
The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) is a scheme for animal feed and fertiliser sold to both professional and non-professional users . The Scottish Quality Cereals (SQC) is a scheme for crops to guarantee high standards of farm management and operations, including the wholesomeness or safety of produced food and the health of the environment or countryside.
Associated with Red Tractor are other schemes like the Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (NIFQAS) that provides high standards for farmed meat in Northern Ireland, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) which provides consumers with a legal guarantee that meat comes from animals raised under strict standards, and Farm Assured Welsh Livestock (FAWL) that strengthens consumers’ confidence with assurance of farm standards in Wales.
Why Does it Matter?
Preventing mistakes and defects in products is essential when delivering services to customers. With quality assurance schemes, consumers are able to know the exact ingredients, either for medical reasons (like diabetes) or for nutritional requirements (with vegetarian or kosher food).
Quality control during manufacturing is vital to reduce the susceptibility consumers might have to any form of food contamination. A clean environment prevents E. coli outbreaks, for example. With controlled schemes food can be traced easily by ingredients and suppliers, which simplifies any recalling that may be needed.
At KLBD we know how important logos are for food quality assurance. As a kosher accreditation organisation, our logo is both respected and recognised by manufacturers and consumers worldwide. To know more about how we can help you certify your products, get in touch with us on +44 (0) 208 343 6255 to speak to our friendly team. We’re always happy to answer any query you might have!