How Freedom Food works

How Freedom Food works

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For a product to be labelled RSPCA Assured, all aspects of an animal’s life must have been covered by the RSPCA’s welfare standards by members of the Freedom Food scheme - including on farm, in transport and at the abattoir.

Traceability checks are carried out on RSPCA Assured products from supermarket shelf back to the farm to check they truly qualify for the RSPCA Assured label.

All RSPCA Assured members - including farms, processors, packers, hauliers and abattoirs - 

are subject to annual assessments by scheme assessors. Monitoring visits are carried out by RSPCA farm livestock officers on a proportion of the membership annually.

Fees

We charge a membership fee based on the size and type of business and - if applicable - a licence fee for use of the name and certification mark on products and menus.

As a non-profit organisation our fees are very competitive and help us cover the cost of your audit - including associated travel and administration costs.

Assessments

We will carry out an assessment within a maximum of 12 weeks of receiving your application, but will always try to visit sooner.

Assessments typically take around two-and-a-

 

Preparing for your assessment

  • Please read the relevant RSPCA welfare standards
  • Ensure that a suitable person is available to accompany your assessor

Have the following documents available

  • Defra advisory booklets
  • Veterinary health plans
  • Veterinary medicines/treatment records
  • Farm policies
  • Training records
  • Production records

half hours depending on the size and type of operation, although your first assessment

may take a little longer.

Assessors must be impartial and unfortunately cannot give advice whilst doing an assessment. However, you will also receive a monitoring visit from an RSPCA livestock officer during your first year of membership and they are able to provide advice.

If anything changes after you’ve been approved, for example your facilities, vehicles, management, location or stocking density, please inform us in writing straight away.

Compliance

Your assessor will leave you a copy of their report. This will tell you which, if any, standards you have not met. These are called non-compliances.

You will need to send us evidence within six weeks which clearly shows you have made any required changes.

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Monitoring

Once you have joined, you will receive a monitoring visit from an RSPCA farm livestock officer (FLO) within your first year of membership.

Farm livestock officers are RSPCA farm animals department staff and have a different role to Freedom Food assessors.

Some members who have renewed their membership will also receive a monitoring visit.

 

Monitoring visits ensure that you:

  • Have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss various welfare-related issues (whereas Freedom Food assessors are not permitted to offer advice during an assessment)
  • Can give feedback to the RSPCA farm animals department regarding development of the standards
  • Are maintaining the RSPCA welfare standards between visits from Freedom Food

These monitoring visits are compulsory, can be unannounced and provide an additional level of assurance to your customers that you

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adhere to the RSPCA welfare standards.

The visit doesn’t cost you anything and the farm livestock officers aim to cause as little disruption to your schedule as possible.

Renewals

Six weeks before your certificate expires you will be sent a letter inviting you to renew

As soon as we receive your membership fee we will send you your new certificate

Your assessor will contact you during your new membership period to arrange your next assessment.