The Red Tractor certified standards body has recognised that the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) has become one of the first UK certification bodies to offer California’s Proposition 12 (Prop 12) certification for UK pork.

In the UK, NSF is now the only certification body (CB) for Red Tractor approved pigs which is the UK’s largest food and standards scheme.

California has introduced new improved requirements for welfare, part of Prop 12 which covers the housing of gilts and sows.

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

Requirements of Prop 12 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.

The Prop 12 certification can also be attained by indoor breeding farms providing additional space.

During 2023, Red Tractor has been attentive on securing the export opportunity for UK pig farmers and processors as part of its ongoing work to achieve maximum market access for farmers.

The CEO of Red Tractor, Jim 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.”

He added that they have “explored all the different options for achieving this, including whether the CDFA could simply recognise the Red Tractor scheme directly”.

Californian market for pork

According to Moseley, 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 to this important market for their pork.”

“This is an important milestone for the pigs sector in this country. Hopefully it can be the start of a productive and ongoing new trading relationship.”

Moseley also stated that they are encouraging the CDFA to visit the UK so that they can see first-hand the high standards Red Tractor farmers work to.

Director of Supply Chain Food Safety with NSF Dale Newitt 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.”

According to Newitt, California consumes nearly 15% of all US pork and only produces 1%.

It also relies “heavily on imports from other states and internationally, which, in 2022, the US imported over £1.3 billion pork products”.