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Industry-Wide Assurance Review Officially Launched

An industry-wide review of farm to fork assurance has been officially launched with the announcement of the independent commissioners panel which will oversee the review.


Image courtesy of NFU

The independent review has been jointly commissioned by the NFU and AHDB along with NFU Cymru, the UFU (Ulster Farmers’ Union) and NFUS (NFU Scotland), who will all form part

of the Assurance Review steering group, which has overall responsibility for its delivery.


The group is now in the process of appointing four commissioners who will be responsible for setting the terms of reference and a timeline to ensure the process provides clear outcomes to the industry.


Three of the four commissioners have already been appointed, who are as follows:


  • Dr David Llewellyn CBE (lead commissioner) – former Vice Chancellor of Harper Adams University

  • James Withers – former Chief Executive Officer of Scotland Food and Drink

  • Mark Suthern – Chairman of Trustees of the FCN (Farming Community Network)

A fourth commissioner will be confirmed in due course.


Dr Llewellyn, who worked at Harper Adams for 23 years, leading the institution as Principal before later being appointed as Vice Chancellor said: “A well-structured farm-level assurance system should be efficient, effective and economically viable for farmers and the wider food production system, while also providing confidence to retailers, other food businesses and consumers, that UK produce is among the best in the world.


“The Commission’s work will include an exploration of best practice, consideration of how methods of assurance can provide value to primary producers in a fast-changing environment and a review of the relationship between assurance and regulation. These are complex matters on which we will be seeking the views of the farming industry, and the wider supply chain, to inform our conclusions.


“I look forward to getting the review under way, and to the Commission engaging with the industry to see how the assurance system can meet the future needs of food producers while underpinning our collective aim to continue, and further develop, the delivery of a high-quality UK food system.”



The industry-wide Assurance Review is focused on repurposing assurance in a post-Brexit world. It aims to seek feedback from all farmers, crofters and growers about all farm assurance schemes with a view to revolutionising farm to fork assurance, making it truly fit for the future.


The review will examine:


  • How farm assurance can deliver value back to scheme members.

  • How standards are developed to meet the evolving needs of members, the markets they serve, sector diversity and in appreciation of the global marketplace.

  • How assurance members are engaged with (including the development of standards), inspected and how technology is used in assurance now and in future.

  • How assurance schemes can and should fit with regulation and government schemes to best serve members.

All of this work will be made available to the Commissioners to help inform the strategic review as appropriate.


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