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Former Groceries Code Adjudicator appointed as Red Tractor chair

18th Dec 2020 / By Alistair Driver

Former Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) Christine Tacon has been appointed as chair of Assured Food Standards, which operates the Red Tractor Assurance scheme.

Christine Tacon 2Mrs Tacon takes up the role on January 1, 2021, replacing Dame Lucy Neville-Rolfe, whose term ended last month. Baroness Neville-Rolfe announced she was standing down at the end of her three-year term in October after she came in for heavy criticism for voting against an amendment to the Agriculture Bill that would have required food imports under future trade deals to match UK standards.

Awarded a CBE for services to agriculture in 2004, Mrs Tacon joins Red Tractor with decades of experience as an advocate for the British food and farming industry and with an extensive background in change management, regulation and the food chain.

She said: “I’m really looking forward to joining Red Tractor – this role builds on my experience in farming, the food chain, working with government and most of all with consumers.

“With uncertainty on standards of food imported into the UK post Brexit, this is a great time to be working on British standards and ensuring they are fit for purpose for all its stakeholders.”

A spokesperson for the Ownership Body of Red Tractor, comprising of the Farming Unions, AHDB, Dairy UK and the BRC, responsible for the appointment, said: “This is a pivotal time for UK agriculture, with the UK’s departure from the EU and the uncertainties of future trade deals.

“Red Tractor’s standards are the bedrock of British agriculture. They have helped establish UK’s food and farming industry as the benchmark for quality across the world. Now more than ever is the time to demonstrate strong leadership, to protect the integrity of the food chain and the agricultural standards that we have built up in Britain over the decades.”

“Christine’s proven credentials and a career that spans across the supply chains of food and farming, will be an enormous asset in helping Red Tractor fly the flag for our industry and to deliver on its core purpose to reassure consumers.”

Mrs Tacon became the first Groceries Code Adjudicator in 2013, holding the role until October 2020, during which time she was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice by large grocery retailers. 

For more than 10 years, she ran the Co-operative Group’s farming business and she currently serves as the Chair of the BBC Rural Affairs Committee and MDS – a management training scheme for the food and fresh produce industry. She is also a director of the AF Group, a £250m purchasing co-operative for agri-businesses.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies welcomed the appointment and said Mrs Tacon had an important role to play at a time when the Red Tractor scheme would be more imprtant than ever.