What is RSPCA Assured?
RSPCA Assured, previously Freedom Food, is the RSPCA’s farm assurance and food labelling scheme.
It aims to improve the welfare of animals farmed for our food. RSPCA Assured assesses farms, hauliers and abattoirs to the RSPCA’s strict welfare standards. If they meet every standard, the RSPCA Assured label can be used on their product.
RSPCA Assured allows free range, organic, indoor and outdoor farms to join its scheme as long as the RSPCA’s welfare standards can be met.
Does the RSPCA Assured label represent the same level of animal welfare as Freedom Food did?
The RSPCA Assured label stands for exactly the same RSPCA animal welfare standards as the Freedom Food label did. The standards cover every aspect of the animals' lives.
How do I know if a product is RSPCA Assured?
The only way of knowing if a product is RSPCA Assured is if it has the label on it. If it doesn't have the RSPCA Assured label then it is unlikely to have been reared to RSPCA welfare standards.
Why have you changed your name to RSPCA Assured?
We believe RSPCA Assured will help even more farm animals have a better life, farmed to RSPCA welfare standards. It has the potential to help about 100 million more farm animals, plus many millions more salmon and trout, within the next five years alone.
The RSPCA is by far the most recognised animal welfare charity in the UK, and RSPCA Assured is the mark consumers have told us they want, recognise, understand and trust.
I've seen products with the Freedom Food logo on them – what should I do?
Don't worry, you’ll continue to see the Freedom Food logo as well as the new RSPCA Assured label until May 2016 as shops and restaurants have packaging to use up.
Why do you allow indoor farming?
There are actually very few free-range farms in the UK, so if RSPCA Assured only approved free range farms it would be failing to help improve the lives of the greater majority of farm animals, who often live in poor conditions.
Also, good animal welfare is not as simple as indoor versus outdoors as both methods have their pros and cons.
More importantly, it comes down to good practice and management, and working to good standards whether indoor or outdoor, free-range or organic.
How often are farms inspected?
RSPCA Assured scheme assessors inspect every farm annually. In addition at least 30 per cent of farms receive a monitoring visit by an RSPCA farm livestock officer – most of these visits are unannounced.
What if a farm does not keep to the standards?
If an RSPCA Assured scheme member doesn't meet the RSPCA welfare standards they may be suspended or permanently removed from the scheme, depending on the severity of the non-compliance. In the case of more minor infringements, ie anything that does not have a direct impact on the health and welfare of an animal (eg record-keeping), they will be given a short period in which to prove that they have put the problem right. If they fail to do so, they may also be suspended or removed from the scheme.
Why is Freedom Food still mentioned on your website?
Freedom Food will continue to be our 'business to business' brand and the name of the company.
The Freedom Food name has built up a strong reputation over the last 20 years within the food and farming industries. It's beneficial for our members – and our work with the wider farming industry – for us to keep it.
Why do some companies still refer to you as Freedom Food?
RSPCA Assured started as Freedom Food in 1994 but was rebranded as RSPCA Assured in 2015. RSPCA Assured is easy to spot and awareness and recognition of the RSPCA brand mean higher demand for RSPCA Assured products.
If you have a question about RSPCA Assured which is not answered here, then please contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
How do Red Tractor Enhanced Welfare standards compare to RSPCA Assured standards?
Red Tractor’s ‘enhanced welfare’ label has adopted some of the RSPCA’s key on-farm welfare standards for chicken and this is great news.
However, Red Tractor’s ‘enhanced welfare’ label has only adopted some of the RSPCA’s higher welfare standards for chickens on farms. It hasn’t adopted any of the RSPCA’s key higher welfare standards for transport and slaughter, which are also important areas of chicken production. You can find out more about Red Tractor’s ‘enhanced welfare’ here.