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Important changes to Red Tractor Pork scheme proposed

3rd Nov 2016 / By Alistair Driver

NPA members are being encouraged to make their views known on proposed changes to the Red Tractor Pork standards, due to come into force next year.

Red TractorThe biggest changes affecting pig producers cover the way antibiotic usage is recorded on farm.

With the full backing of elected NPA Producer Group members, it is proposed that, from October 1, 2017, it will be a requirement to upload total antibiotic usage data onto the electronic medicines recording system, eMB-Pigs, on a quarterly basis.

Addressing the group in London yesterday, Red Tractor Pork chairman Mike Sheldon stressed that, subject to the change being approved, farmers would need to start collating the data from the end of March 2017.

He said: “The change will mean, as of October 1, 2017 all producers must be using eMB-Pigs for quarterly submissions. By that date, every producer must have the previous two quarters entered onto the system.

"You will need to be able to show at least two months’ worth of data on the system, otherwise you will not be compliant.”

He stressed, however, that use of the eMB trumped the requirement for an annual collation, so producers would not be required to provide both.

The data will provide an anonymised, aggregated national record of total antibiotic usage for the VMD. The NPA and AHDB Pork stress this will ensure the industry can secure more reasonable targets for reducing antibiotic usage when they are agreed next year.

Producer group members expressed frustration that, while uptake is growing, records covering only 14 per cent of the finishing herd for 2015 and 2016 have been entered onto eMB-Pigs so far.

The Red Tractor consultation is also proposing that antibiotic prescribing must be done in accordance with Pig Veterinary Society Prescribing Principles at all times.

Other proposed changes from October 1 2017 cover:

Rodenticides – Red Tractor membership will continue to demonstrate farmers are responsible users and will exempt them from new regulations covering rodenticide use.

Feed and water - including more robust and prescriptive requirements for the provision of clean drinking water.

Traceability – including a full standard for ear tagging or ear tattooing, in preference to ear notching.

Imports - new standard strengthening the requirements around the importing of stock and semen to help to safeguard against the spread of potential diseases such as LA-MRSA into the UK herd  

Biosecurity – additional standards focusing on access to the unit by people and visitors.

Animal health and welfare – including requirements around the use of supplementary rearing facilities to ensure they are used in line with legislation.

Environmental protection – controls on, for example, weeds and chemical waste, that will qualify farmers to continue accessing certain products.

Responding to the consultation

Mr Sheldon urged any NPA members wishing to respond to do so via NPA, which will then collate the responses into a single submission.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “This important consultation includes several proposed changes to Red Tractor standards, including making it compulsory to enter data onto eMB-Pigs.

“I want every member to have the opportunity to feed in their views so please let us know what you think.”

For more information on the proposed changes, click here

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