Guy Poppy Red Tractor

Assured Food Standards (AFS) has appointed Professor Guy Poppy to its board as Red Tractor’s new scientific adviser for agricultural and food science.

Poppy is an expert in food systems and security, and continues to conduct prominent research in both areas, advising governments around the world.

He is currently serving as a senior professor at the University of Southampton, where he continues his research into global food security, and is the director of a new £47.5 million Strategic Priorities Fund research programme focused on transforming the UK food system. His previous roles have included being chief scientific adviser at the Food Standards Agency and principal scientific officer at Rothamsted Research.

AFS said his new role - to provide strategic insight and direction for the scheme regarding agricultural and food science - emphasises Red Tractor’s determination to ensure the relevance and robustness of the scheme’s standards in a post- Brexit world.

Red Tractor chair Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe said: “This is a critically important time for Red Tractor to demonstrate strong leadership in protecting the integrity of the food chain and British agricultural standards.

“Our standards are the bedrock of the farming industry. So, it’s our duty to understand the implications of any changes in approach to the science of food production and farming. I am confident that Guy’s experience and skills will help us to navigate this process safely.”

Poppy added: “I am really looking forward to joining the board of Red Tractor. Maintaining high standards in food has never been more important and I am looking forward to building a better food system. I am confident that certified standards through the Red Tractor scheme will play a major role.”

Poppy's appointment from November comes as industry stalwart David Clarke steps down from Red Tractor duties next month. As a founding member of the scheme, Clarke led the organisation as its chief executive for 17 years, before continuing to provide guidance in his capacity as science sirector on the AFS board.

Neville-Rolfe added: “I would like to take this opportunity to mark the incredible work and commitment that David has displayed over decades. It is easy to underestimate the impact he has had on British food and farming, after it was devasted by a decade of food scares back in the 1990s.

'During his tenure at Red Tractor, the confidence in and support for the industry has continued to grow. Now in our twentieth year, more than 75 per cent of British Agriculture is Red Tractor assured and consumer trust is at an all-time high. I would like to offer our thanks and wish David the very best of luck for the future.”

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