UK pork sector gains gateway to California

Posted: 22 November 2023 | | No comments yet

NSF has become one of the first UK certification bodies to offer California’s Proposition 12 certification for British pork producers.

pig farm

UK pork farmers can now gain access to the Californian market “with more confidence” as NSF becomes a pioneering UK certification body for Proposition 12, a certification for British pork producers that allows for exports to California.

NSF, a global public health and safety organisation, is the only Red Tractor Certification Body for pork in the UK and is now offering British farmers a “comprehensive solution” for certifying their pork production.

Proposition 12 has been described by NSF as a “ground-breaking animal welfare law from California that sets higher standards for confining certain farm animals”. The law will be going effect on 1 January 2024, meaning the Prop 12 certification will be essential for British producers keen to export produce to the US market as it ensures their compliance with Californian animal welfare standards.

“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” said Dale Newitt, Director of Supply Chain Food Safety, NSF.  

“Despite accounting for nearly 15 percent of total US pork consumption, California only produces 1 percent of it, making it heavily dependent on interstate and international imports. In 2022, the total import of pork in the US exceeded £1.3 billion, making the Prop 12 certification a significant market opportunity for UK pork producers,” continued Newitt.

In addition, NSF will be- offering “bundled auditing”, something that allows Prop 12 and Red Tractor audits to happen simultaneously, which could reduce the audit burden on British farmers through cost-effective and efficient.  

“Bundled auditing is a game-changer for British farmers. By conducting Prop 12 and Red Tractor audits at the same time, we can cut down on the time and expenses usually associated with gaining these important certifications,” added Newitt.

Red Tractor halts new standards pending NFU governance review

The NSF has emphasised the importance of animal wellness as part of its broader commitment to public health. It says that its dual certification services “underscore its commitment to supporting British farmers and the industry at large, offering them a streamlined approach to meet the increasingly rigorous standards of domestic and international markets”.

Sharing Red Tractor’s stance on NSF’s updates, Jim Moseley, CEO of Red Tractor, 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. As part of their existing Red Tractor assessment, they will be able to simply add the Prop 12 checks, where required, and have access this important market for their pork.”

Concluding his statement, Moseley branded this update as an “important milestone for the pig sector” in the UK and added that he hopes that it can “be the start of a productive and ongoing new trading relationship”.

“We’re encouraging the CDFA to visit the UK so that they can see first-hand the high standards our Red Tractor farmers work to,” added Moseley.