Red TractorÂ are looking forÂ industry feedback on potential changes to the Safe Haven Standards, the seed potato assurance scheme in the UK. New standards likely to be added to the scheme cover areas such as water use, storage best practice and traceability.
The strengthened standards will now mean that the scheme will also cover Brown Rot and Epitrix on top of the existing coverage of Ring Rot and Dickeya.
The Safe Haven Standards were introduced after a ring rot outbreak in England and Wales in 2003 from seed sourced from the Netherlands. The scheme was later widened to include Dickeya and has been largely successful at protecting GB seed stocks from these diseases with 60% of growers certified (by area) under the Safe Haven Standards.
After an initial survey to gather feedback from growers earlier this year, Red Tractor, working with AHDB, FERA and the James Hutton Institute, have updated the current scheme, adding eight new standards. TheÂ revised standardsÂ will now go out forÂ official consultationÂ with industry.
Dr Rob Clayton, AHDB Potatoes Strategy Director, says: â€œWe really want strong engagement with this consultation from across the industry, so we can make sure weâ€™ve got this right. Weâ€™ll be contacting all our potato levy payers in the next few weeks to encourage them to respond, as well as reaching out to other industry bodies.
â€œThe Safe Haven Standards have done an excellent job at protecting the seed sector in the last 16 years, we need to make sure they continue to do so.â€
The Safe Haven Standards will be open to industry consultation from 19 August to 4 October. TheÂ consultationÂ will be emailed directly to levy payers and industry bodies, and will also be available on the AHDB and Red Tractor website.