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Quality assurance in the UK agro-food industry: a sector-driven response to addressing environmental risk

Venn, Laura and Hooper, Paul and Stubbs, Mark A. and Young, Craig (2003) Quality assurance in the UK agro-food industry: a sector-driven response to addressing environmental risk. Risk management, 5 (4). pp. 55-65. ISSN 1460-3799

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Abstract

In recent years public confidence in the UK agro-food industry has suffered a very serious decline. The health and safety issues that arise from industrialised food production in the UK are well publicised. However, intensive farming also poses great risks to the natural environment. To address public concern regarding food safety, animal welfare and environmental risks, the agro-food industry has developed sector-based assurance schemes to demonstrate due diligence and ensure the minimisation of risks. This paper, based on a comprehensive analysis of scheme documentation, evaluates the potential of 'quality assurance schemes' (QASs) to reduce environmental risk. A range of environmental commitments are identified that allow QAS to be classified into 'compliance-only', 'compliance-plus' and 'leading-edge' categories. This spectrum of environmental risk assessment and management assurances suggests that QASs do provide an opportunity for the sector to engage with, and limit, environmental liabilities.

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