NSF, the only Red Tractor Certification Body for pork, can now certify British pork for the lucrative Californian market.
NSF has become one of the first UK certification bodies to offer California’s Proposition 12 (Prop 12) certification for UK pork.
This certification is crucial for British farmers who want to comply with the new Californian animal welfare standards that comes into effect on 1 January 2024.
California consumes nearly 15% of all US pork, yet only produces 1%, so it relies heavily on imports from other states and internationally.
As part of Prop 12, the US state has introduced improved welfare requirements covering the housing of sows and gilts.
From 1 January 2024 producers supplying California must have a valid certificate of Prop 12 compliance.
The Prop 12 requirements include increased freedom of movement and housing space.
Red Tractor's existing ‘outdoor-bred’ Core Standards for pigs already meet these new higher welfare requirements in California.
Indoor breeding farms providing additional space can also achieve Prop 12 certification.
Responding, Red Tractor CEO, Jim Moseley, said it was an important milestone for the British pig sector.
"I'm delighted that we can now offer UK pig farmers access to this important market for selling safe and traceable UK pork," he said.
"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 added: “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."