Who is Assured Food Standards

Who are we?

AFS is the independent organisation set up to manage the little red tractor stamp of approval. We set the standards that must be achieved before the logo can be used on food; we license for producers, processors and packers who can meet the standards; and we ensure that the logo is only used on food that deserves to carry it.

How do we set standards for so many different types of food?

AFS works with a number of ‘assurance schemes’ that operate in different food sectors. They develop the detailed standards and inspection systems for their own sector. AFS will examine any schemes that wish to work with us and will recognise those which come up to our exacting standards.

When were we established?

AFS was established in the spring of 2000 in time for the launch of the little red tractor stamp of approval in June of that year.

Who owns AFS?

We are owned by sections of the agri-food industry, including several of the farm assurance schemes, the National Farmer’s Union and the Meat & Livestock Commission.

Who runs AFS?

AFS is run by an independent chairman and board of directors. The board includes representatives of three of the assurance schemes, but there is also a majority of directors who are independent of the schemes. These include directors from the retail and food processing sectors, and others representing academics, consumers and the environment. The RSPB recently joined the AFS board.

How is AFS funded?

The small staff of the company is supported by contributions from the various participating schemes. For the first two years, there is also grant support from MAFF.

Does AFS only deal with the little red tractor stamp of approval?

No. For the first time AFS provides a valuable forum for liaison between the various assurance schemes. AFS can represent the food assurance community to a range of stakeholders both inside and outside of the food industry.

AFS also provides the opportunity for the assurance “community” to tackle issues of common interest. One of the first priorities is to allow integration of inspections between different schemes. This is now beginning to happen.

And AFS is also determined to promote assurance along the entire food chain. We recognise that the safety of food, the welfare of livestock and the environment can all be affected by activities beyond the farm gate. AFS will only give its seal of approval to food that has been produced to proper standards at all critical steps in the food supply chain.