Tesco has introduced a new code of practice for its dairy group farmers ahead of a planned drive to communicate the group's work to consumers later this year.

The code, which lays down new environmental, animal welfare and health standards, contains 17 absolute standards that Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group farmers must meet, and 15 measures by which they can make improvements to their herds. A new database which can be accessed by all TSDG farmers also enables them to check their progress on criteria such as lameness, cleanliness and carbon ­reduction.

TSDG farmers had undertaken milk recording and mobility scoring of their cattle for the past four years, but the new code would help farmers better understand the concerns of Tesco's customers, said Sean McCurley, Tesco's director of dairy. "We are very proud of the TSDG, and plan to further promote the work of the farmers to our customers," he added.