Countryfile's Adam Henson urges you to look out for the Assured Food Standards logo

PUBLISHED: 17:28 18 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:53 20 February 2013

Assured Food Standards

Assured Food Standards

Adam Henson, farmer and presenter of BBC TV's Countryfile, talks about a reassuring logo that consumers should look out for

Walk in to any shop or supermarket and youre immediately bombarded with food information.

It seems that every pack, box, bag and carton is covered with a sometimes bewildering amount of detail; everything from the ingredients and animal welfare claims to the calorific value and statements about goodness.

Its all well-intentioned but even farmers and food producers who know about the industry can be left scratching their heads. It was much the same back in 2000 when it was realised that something needed to be done to build confidence and pride in well-produced, home grown meat, poultry, fruit, vegetables, dairy products and even flour, sugar and beer.

So the Red Tractor logo was born. Alongside a Union Flag and the words Assured Food Standards, the Red Tractor is a sign of quality British food thats grown, produced and processed in the United Kingdom.

Its a reassurance to the shopper that the food theyre putting on the family table has been produced safely and responsibly, that it can be traced back to the farm and every step of the process has been carried out with the environment in mind.

After all, when it comes to hygiene, animal care and food processing this country has some of the highest standards and tightest legislation in the world. Its definitely something to shout about.

So Im a bit puzzled why, 12 years after it first appeared, the Red Tractor still causes confusion among some shoppers. It isnt the same as claiming something is organic, free range or of exceptional excellence but, importantly, it does mean that you can trust whats inside the wrapper.

In todays global market its a guarantee that youre not buying unknown, untraceable foreign food. In Britain we have no control over the agriculture industry in places such as South America and China or how they manage their farms and production lines.

Closer to home even European farming has been described as an uneven playing field with EU regulations strictly followed by some countries while in others theres a more relaxed attitude, shall we say? Its led to claims that the UK could be unwittingly importing products from illegal production systems on the continent.

The most recent example comes after the Europe-wide ban on battery cages for laying hens which came in to effect earlier this year. The cages have been outlawed here but there are well publicised fears that illegally-produced eggs from other EU countries could still be coming in to Britain in liquid form for use in the catering trade.

So in this patriotic year of the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and the Paralympics, what better way of flying the flag than keeping an eye out for the Red Tractor logo and getting to know it a little better?

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