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UK Flour Millers visits Germany


A member company was kind enough to invite the secretariat along to a trip to Germany to visit wheat farms and grain terminals at a series of ports (writes Joe Brennan).


The purpose was to see the German farms in person and quiz industry colleagues on the regulations and standards German farmers must meet.


This is part of the ongoing work to understand standards in the countries from which UK flour milling businesses import grain, so we can better defend our use of imported wheat and provide some support to Red Tractor, which has been accused of putting UK farmers at a disadvantage to competitors in other countries.


The tours and discussions with farmers and originators highlighted the strong standards German farmers must meet. A significant proportion of requirements covered by Red Tractor Crops Standards in the UK are instead covered by regulation and regional government audits.


These audits are unannounced and carry significant penalties for non-compliance. Some other requirements are met by inspections that originators carry out on farms to ensure good manufacturing practice is being followed, for example around grain store robustness.


This visit and discussions with German exporters have given the secretariat confidence that the majority of Red Tractor standards are also being met by German farmers.


As German wheat imports often increase in seasons where the UK milling wheat supply is poor, the detailed understanding of standards in Germany will help our industry fend off accusations that we are undercutting domestic farmers when importing German wheat.


A full report will be shared with the Wheat Committee in due course.

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