In alliance with our dedicated farmers we pay a fair price for their milk, this ensures the best possible welfare standards for their cows that, in turn, produce great quality milk. We pay our farmers based on what it costs them to produce the milk and to invest in their farms, not a fluctuating market price. The premium of our price investment to the farmers is close to £30m p.a.
All our standard milk is produced by a group of dedicated farmers, who supply their milk exclusively for us and who understand and share our values. We work closely with our farmers to deliver the highest standards of milk quality and ensure best practice in animal health and welfare.
We test the quality of the milk from each individual cow every month and we also set the highest parameters for quality. We collect the milk from each of our farmers every day. Our Milk, from the moment it leaves the cow to the time it reaches the shelf, is fully traceable and completely segregated from any other retailer's milk.
As a result of us paying more, we insist on higher quality and welfare standards. We require high Animal Welfare standards, such as Mobility scoring (unique to us) to ensure our milk is the one highest quality in the industry. In layman's terms, this is the same as our cows having monthly MOT's.
We have our own animal welfare codes of practice for every livestock species, which are independently audited for us. Plus a team of dedicated Agriculture Managers who ensure that these policies are complied with. Farming practices used in the production of over 95% of the milk in the UK is also governed by stringent legislation through farm assurance schemes, such as the Red Tractor.
All of Tesco's dairy producers must have a written health and welfare plan to help review their approach to animal health on a regular basis and demonstrate commitment to planned and preventative health schemes. Farm hygiene and management programmes such as vaccination, appropriate animal husbandry and care should be used, as relevant, to reduce disease and the need for therapeutic intervention.
For mobility scoring and encouraging all our dairy farmers to milk record - as we believe it to be best practice, and allows us full traceability of the quality of our milk supply - we won the RSPCA Business Innovation Award 2007.
Tesco Dairy Centre of Excellence:
We have also now teamed up with the University of Liverpool to target developments in both animal welfare and product innovation that will benefit the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group. Tesco's Dairy Centre of Excellence based at the University's dairy farm gives us direct access to some of the best specialists in the country in areas such as herd health and animal welfare. 15th January 2010 saw the opening of our Visitor Centre at Liverpool, with the aim of being a national resource point for schools, our dedicated farmers and industry experts.
Some of the key areas that the research and development centre will look at are:
Exploring consumer trends and product innovation
Environmental best practices
We know how important animal welfare is to you &mdsah; that is why we have a dedicated agriculture team at Tesco, who are responsible for writing and implementing our strict Livestock codes of Practice. If you would like to find out more about these standards and the work we are doing with UK farmers, please visit: www.tescofarming.com