Earned Recognition - Approved Assurance Schemes

Last updated:
1 December 2017
Earned Recognition rewards responsible businesses and encourages industry to promote the important role of regulatory standards.

Earned Recognition aims to reduce the burden on compliant businesses whilst concentrating enforcement activity at less compliant businesses. Those that qualify for Earned Recognition will benefit from a reduced frequency of intervention by the enforcement authority. 

The FSA is reviewing the way that we approach assurance through the Regulating Our Future (ROF) Programme, looking towards an expanded, formal role for private assurance schemes already operating in food safety and food standards.

Details on the criteria, the process for scheme approval, governance arrangements and exchange of information with enforcement authorities can be found in the guidance on Approved Assurance Schemes. 

Approved Assurance Schemes in the feed sector

The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) is an independent, not for profit organisation that works on behalf of its members in the agricultural supply sector. While AIC represents several sectors within the feed industry and manages a number of assurance schemes they have three assurance schemes approved by the FSA:

  • Feed Materials Assurance Scheme (FEMAS)
  • Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops (TASCC)
  • Universal Feed Assurance Scheme (UFAS)

The AIC operates to a Memorandum of Understanding with the FSA, Food Standards Scotland and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

Approved Assurance Schemes in the feed and food sectors

Red Tractor Assurance (RTA) is a whole chain assurance scheme which covers food safety, traceability, animal welfare and environmental protection. The RTA logo can be applied to food products to show that businesses in that supply chain have met RTA standards and that products are fully traceable back to independently assessed farms. Red Tractor Assurance (RTA) has six schemes that are approved by the FSA:

  • Beef & Lamb
  • Crops & Sugar Beet
  • Dairy
  • Fresh produce
  • Pigs
  • Poultry

Red Tractor operate to a Memorandum of Understanding with the FSA England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Northern Ireland Beef & Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (NIBL FQAS) operates to a Memorandum of Understanding with the FSA Northern Ireland.

The FSA in Wales has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers Ltd, which will commence in April 2018. 

Enforcement Authority Verification

To ensure continuing compliance and confidence after approval of an assurance scheme for earned recognition, the FSA will continue to verify compliance with FSA criteria for earned recognition. This will include a check carried out by enforcement authorities on a percentage of assurance scheme members to verify business compliance. Positive verification will enable the FSA to have continued confidence in the assurance scheme and the ability to justify approved scheme status.

Enforcement Authority Exception Reporting (feed sector only)

When an enforcement authority becomes aware that a feed business will lose Earned Recognition, they are required to notify the FSA as soon as possible using the appropriate exception report form. This information is important in helping the FSA carry out its verification role of approved assurance schemes.

England: the exception report  should be emailed to: feeddelivery@food.gov.uk

Wales: the exception report should be emailed to: lasupportwales@food.gov.uk

Northern Ireland: the exception report in Annex 12 of the Feed Law Enforcement Guidance Document should be emailed to:  Executive.Support@food.gov.uk


England: email: feeddelivery@food.gov.uk

Wales: email: lasupportwales@food.gov.uk

Northern Ireland: email: Executive.Support@food.gov.uk 

Scotland: email to: animal.feed.enforcement@fss.scot