Arla Foods is committed to processing only the highest quality milk and Arla’s supplying farmers ensure that they farm to the highest animal welfare standards to provide the best quality milk possible.
Arla has a global farm assurance standard, called Arlagården, which was introduced in the UK in October 2015.
Arla's farmer owners created Arlagården around 11 eleven years ago in order to protect their brand and reputation for supplying quality milk. Rolling out the scheme across all Arla's owner countries ensures that all Arla farmers are assessed to the same standards.
Arlagården protects and enhances Arla’s reputation for supplying quality milk in its home markets. In addition, it increases Arla’s ability to compete globally as export countries have the reassurance the milk has been produced to the same high standards.
In the UK, Arla and Red Tractor have worked closely together during the development of Arlagården in 2015 and Arla is fully supportive of the existing Red Tractor scheme in the UK, which Arla farmers continue to be assessed against alongside a further sixteen Arlagården standards.
The most significant of the additional Arlagården standards relates to the use of antibiotics. Arlagården places emphasis on ensuring farmers work closely with their vet to ensure that antibiotics are used as little as possible, but as much as necessary. Arlagården will require farmers to only use antibiotics for curing or alleviating diseases and illness rather than for preventive purposes.
Arlagården also plays a significant role in supporting Arla’s responsible sourcing principles that contribute to its farmer-owned marque. Successfully launched across Europe in August 2015, the marque provides consumers with the reassurance that Arla’s dairy products are from a responsible farmer-owned business where all the profits go back to its owners and are produced with the highest expectations for animal welfare and environmental standards throughout its supply chain.
In the UK, Arla farmers supply milk under the national Red Tractor Dairy Farm Assurance Scheme which provides legislation relating to quality, traceability, hygiene and animal welfare.
The Red Tractor Dairy Farm Assurance Scheme allows British dairy farmers to demonstrate that their standards of husbandry and welfare meet nationally agreed levels of best agricultural practice.
Arla Foods works closely with Acoura, which has team of AFS accredited auditors which inspect the farms of Arla farmers on a regular basis to ensure that they are fully compliant with the requirements of the scheme.
Farms are assessed on a number of criteria at their farm, which include
- Hygiene and food safety
- Plant and equipment
- Feedstuffs and water
- Stocksmanship and training
- Contingency procedures
- Medicine and antibiotic procedures
An integral part of the scheme is a herd health plan, which is a detailed plan of preventative healthcare and protocols as well as a recording system to monitor herd health and welfare. The herd health plan is also reviewed annually in conjunction with vets.
This includes protocols for routine footcare, examination and trimming, and actions to be taken for the treatment of lame cows. A mastitis action plan is also required and used to prevent and control mastitis of the herd, including methods for detection and treatment, protocols for clinical cases and procedures for drying off.