Arla Foods launches Arlagården in UK

October sees the UK roll-out of Arla Foods’s farm assurance programme, Arlagården, which focuses on milk quality, food safety and animal welfare. Already in operation in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, the assurance programme ensures all 12,700 Arla farmers are assessed to the same standards.

Arlagården protects and enhances Arla’s reputation for supplying quality milk in its home markets. In addition, it increases Arla’s ability to compete globally as export countries have the reassurance the milk has been produced to the same high standards.

In the UK, Arla and Red Tractor have worked closely together during the development of Arlagården and Arla is fully supportive of the existing Red Tractor scheme. Arla farmers will continue to meet the Red Tractor requirements but in order to implement Arlagården and its additional 16 standards efficiently and effectively across the 3,000 UK farmers who supply Arla; both schemes will be assessed at the same time.

David Clarke, Red Tractor Chief Executive, said: “We welcome Arla’s continued, long-term commitment to the Red Tractor scheme. We have worked in partnership with Arla to ensure Red Tractor continues to be at the core of dairy farm assurance assessments for Arla farmers and that they are delivered in an efficient way, specifically to avoid any duplication. We are also delighted Arla is extending its use of the Red Tractor logo on its branded products, demonstrating that Red Tractor is core to the business and that it is committed to communicating Red Tractor credentials to shoppers.”

Angela Rhodes, Arla farmer-owner and member of the Arla amba Board of Representatives, said: “As owners of Arla, our responsibility doesn’t end at the farm gate, but goes all the way from cow to consumer. Arlagården is our way of ensuring that every litre of our milk is produced to high standards.”

The most significant of the additional standards relates to the use of antibiotics. Arlagården places emphasis on ensuring farmers work closely with their vet to ensure that antibiotics are used as little as possible, but as much as necessary. Arlagården will require farmers to only use antibiotics for curing or alleviating diseases and illness rather than for preventive purposes.

Arlagården will play a significant role in supporting Arla’s responsible sourcing principles that contribute to its farmer-owned marque. Successfully launched across Europe in August, the marque provides consumers with the reassurance that Arla’s dairy products are from a responsible farmer-owned business where all the profits go back to its owners and are produced with the highest expectations for animal welfare and environmental standards throughout its supply chain.

Ash Amirahmadi, head of milk and member services, Arla Foods UK, said: “Arlagården is an independently audited standard that proves our farmers’ commitment to producing quality milk, caring for their cows and using antibiotics and medicines responsibly. This will reassure consumers that a little extra care every step of the way means they can trust that our products are of high quality, natural, tasty and healthy.”

As part of the preparation towards the roll-out, Arla has carried out a series of meetings with over 300 vets to discuss the new standards. In addition, Arla is in the process of running sixty workshops with farmers specifically focussing on antibiotic use.

Peter Edmondson, Arla’s consultant vet, said: “It is absolutely crucial that Arla farmers work closely with their vets to agree how they will meet the new standards relating to antibiotics. We’ve taken the opportunity to meet with vets to outline Arla’s approach so they are in a position to support Arla farmers along the way. This is just the beginning of our journey and it is essential that we build on these foundations to deliver the standards in the long term.”

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