Pressure from retailers is helping to drive assurance further up the chain, according to Helen Raine, chairman of agricultural supply sector association UKASTA. "Animal feed is part of the human food chain. If we are really concerned about UK consumers we need to cast the net wider," she said. The association is to extend UFAS, its feed assurance scheme, globally. As part of this drive UKASTA's Feed Materials Assurance Scheme (FEMAS) for raw materials, which launched last year, will be developed worldwide, said Raine. "No matter how far away you are, someone is going to audit you." "We need to go back to origin," Raine added, saying that companies would adopt the scheme because, "it's a ticket to market". Sainsbury, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose, Safeway and Marks and Spencer require their UK livestock producers to adopt UFAS. George French, Sainsbury's technical manager, agricultural production systems, said: "We consider UFAS the national scheme. We need to ensure feed is from an assured source. It is essential to link up to the country of origin. "If UFAS and FEMAS can operate overseas and get a common standard it will give everybody a lot more confidence," he added. FEMAS covers raw material suppliers, including cereal processors, oil crushers, brewers and food manufacturers. According to UKASTA, feed compounders will have to use ingredients from producers or sources covered by an assurance scheme by July 2004. {{NEWS }}