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NPA welcomes NSF California Proposition 12 accreditation

20th Nov 2023 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA has welcomed confirmation that UK pig producers can now become accredited to export to California's under the US state's new Proposition 12 (Prop 12) regulations.

outdoor pigsNSF, the sole Certification Body (CB) for Red Tractor pigs in the UK, has become certified to offer Prop 12 certification for UK pork, opening up potential export opportunities for producers. 

Prop 12 legislation was recently introduced in California, setting strict production standards across various species, including pigs, and banning sales of pork in the state from farms that don’t meet those standards. The requirements include increased freedom of movement and housing space for sows and gilts.

From January 1, 2024, producers supplying California must have a valid certificate of Prop 12 compliance.

California is a large market of 40 million people, but the Californian and wider US pig sector will be unable to meet demand for pork produced to these higher standards, including pens that provide 24 square feet per sow.  That opens up opportunities for other parts of the world, including the UK.

Red Tractor’s existing ‘outdoor-bred’ Core Standards for pigs already meet these new higher welfare requirements in California. Indoor breeding farms not automatically meet the requirements but can do so by providing additional space.

As part of their existing Red Tractor assessment, producers will be able to simply add the Prop 12 checks, where required, and have access to this important market for their pork, Red Tractor CEO Jim Moseley said.

NPA chief executive Lizzie Wilson said: “This is really good news for the UK pork sector. It is a very lucrative market and yet another global platform to showcase higher welfare British pork. As always, we need to ensure the value earned from any trade is distributed across the whole supply chain.”

Export opportunity

Jim MoseleyRed Tractor said it has been focused on securing this export opportunity for UK pig farmers and processors as part of its ongoing work to achieve maximum market access for farmers.

Mr Moseley said: “Market access is a key goal for food chain assurance and Red Tractor has been working closely on this with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and NSF over recent months. I’m delighted that we can now offer UK pig farmers access to this important market for selling safe and traceable UK pork.

“We have explored all the different options for achieving this, including whether the CDFA could simply recognise the Red Tractor scheme directly. However, Californian legislation requires the independent assessment and certification body to be certified by CDFA.

“That’s why news that NSF has now been certified by CDFA is so significant. It makes it very easy for pig farmers and their processors to access the California market from January next year."

Dale Newitt, Director of Supply Chain Food Safety, NSF said: “NSF’s Prop 12 certification means British pork producers can now access the Californian market with greater confidence.

“This aligns perfectly with NSF’s mission to improve and protect human health, as healthier animals mean safer, higher quality meat for consumers.

"California consumes nearly 15% of all US pork, yet only produces 1%, so it relies heavily on imports from other states and internationally, which, in 2022, the US imported over £1.3 billion pork products.”