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Supply Chain

Marks & Spencer Dairy Farms Become RSPCA Assured

UK retailer Marks & Spencer has announced its plans to source all of its fresh milk from RSPCA-assured dairy farms.

The retailer says that all 37 of its dairy suppliers have received certification from the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), and all of its fresh milk packaging will now carry the RSPCA Assured logo.

RSPCA standards cover all aspects of cow welfare associated with milk production, including calf rearing, accommodation, health planning, transport, feed and grazing.

Supply Chain Transparency

“No other retailer has this level of transparency or standards in its dairy supply chain,” said Steve McLean, head of agriculture and fisheries at Marks & Spencer. “We know how much animal welfare matters to our customers and that they expect the highest standards from us.”

“Back in March we faced calls to cut ties with one of our dairy farmers because of a breach of animal welfare regulations,” he added.

“It would not have been the right thing to do. One of our farmers made a mistake, so instead we worked with the farmer to rectify the issue and took the decision to strengthen our standards by asking an independent to assess all of our dairy farms.“

Clive Brazier, CEO of RSPCA Assured, added that “this is a major step forward for improving dairy cow welfare and we hope other retailers will follow suit.”

Welfare Standards

The 37 farms that supply fresh milk to Marks & Spencer were visited by the RSPCA in April, May and June of this year, and were checked on 332 standards - 99% of which were met.

Now, these farms will be assessed annually by the RSPCA, and will receive a twice-yearly audit from Marks & Spencer to ensure standards are maintained.

“RSPCA Assured standards are the toughest in the business,” said McLean. “We’ve supported those farms that had work to do to achieve them, but I’m pleased to say every farmer has stepped up and delivered everything we and RSPCA Assured has asked of them.”

© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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