Red Tractor has announced the strengthening of its poultry standards.
Red Tractor poultry farms and hatcheries will be receiving copies of the scheme’s revised assurance standards in July ready for their introduction in October.
Farmers, retailers, vets and other industry experts review the scheme every three years to ensure assured food is produced in a way that consumers value and demand.
With huge importance being placed on all livestock sectors to reduce overall antibiotic usage, standards have been updated to promote responsible use.
Vermin control has also been strengthened to allow assured producers to continue to buy professional rodenticides without the need for further training.
With avian influenza still front of mind, biosecurity protocols have been strengthened across the board.
The environmental protection section is now more appropriate for livestock farmers and for ease of navigation has been divided in to two areas; the responsible use of agri-chemicals and nutrient management.
A summary of the main amendments are:
Broiler producers must only use antibiotics to treat a problem, and total antibiotic use should now be recorded in mg/pcu*. The use of third and fourth generation Cephalosporins, Glycopeptides and Colistin are not permitted, but Macrolides and Fluoroquinolones are allowed if backed up by a vet and with written permission from the company purchasing the birds.
Red Tractor assured hatcheries must now only handle assured eggs to reduce any reputation risk to the scheme of non-assured eggs being supplied to producers. The requirement for producers to keep robust traceability records has also been beefed up.
Records of how and when farmers treated home-grown grains for salmonella before feeding must be kept.
Routine baiting is not allowed and must only take place where evidence of rodent activity is found. A map of the farm should show activity and a bait plan kept detailing any action taken. A simple risk assessment of where watercourses are and any populations of non-target species should also be carried out and recorded.
A biosecurity plan or policy must exist for each assured poultry farm, and it is being recommended that there is a defined boundary around each site to control the entry and exit of vehicles and people. Vehicles should be disinfected on exit as well as entry.
Inorganic fertilisers should be stored on hard, dry surfaces away from flammable materials, and all application machinery should be checked annually.