Assured Food Standards (AFS)

AERU have undertaken two projects for Assured Food Standards (AFS), an independent organisation set up to manage the 'little red tractor' stamp of approval that can seen on many supermarket products. The standards AFS set cover a range of sectors, including beef and lamb, pork, poultry, dairy, vegetables, cereals and oilseeds, and sugar. These are covered by 6 schemes:

  • Assured Combinable Crops
  • Assured Produce
  • Assured British Meat
  • Assured British Pigs
  • Assured Chicken Production
  • National Dairy Farm Assurance standards

The first project, compared the standards for 6 schemes to the Cross Compliance measures. The objective was to identify the gaps and commonalties between the scheme standards and the range of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs) and Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) that form Cross Compliance (in 2005). Farmers need to meet all the GAECs and SMRs that apply to them in order to receive their Single Farm Payment. This comparison exercise was undertaken to help explore the potential role the schemes may have in relation to cross compliance.

The second project compared the 6 AFS standards to each other to identify areas where some harmonisation may be possible. The first step was to assess what components of the AFS standards are generic to all farms. This provided a full spectrum of generic activities that are assessed by all the AFS standards combined. A comparison exercise was then undertaken comparing the 6 AFS standards to the generic suite of farm practices. This highlighted the key similarities and differences between the different standards and assessed, where appropriate, the different approaches taken by the standards with respect to style, format, wording and general approach. The remaining components of the standards (i.e. those that are unique to specific sectors), were examined in terms of their structure, such as order of questions and format etc., to explore any similarities in the approaches taken.


Dr John Tzilivakis


Cross Compliance

University of Hertfordshire
University of Hertfordshire, 2017.