We’re the only independent standard in the UK for Traditional Farm-fresh, Free-Range Christmas Turkeys!
It’s fantastic, especially given the current situation, that our group of Golden Turkey farmers and members of the TFTA, are so passionate about rearing and producing their free-range birds to our strict higher welfare and environmentally responsible, code of quality requirements. Only birds meeting all requirements of the code are given the Golden Turkey Quality Assurance Guarantee – a certification mark that means you can be confident that these turkeys have been reared to the highest traditional methods to ensure a high quality Christmas turkey with exceptional flavour and succulence.
Let’s take a look at what’s behind this Golden Turkey Quality Assurance mark
How do Farmers become Golden Turkey Farmers?
Turkey Farmers interested in becoming an accredited producer of Golden Turkeys are invited to join our association – the Traditional Farm-fresh Turkey Association.
The farm needs to comply fully with our Code of Practice and will be required to undertake audit checks against these requirements, in sections, over a 3 year period.
The Golden Turkey Code of Practice is the standard we set, against which inspections are made by an independent body – Kiwa. They are a professional body with experience in the food and farming sector, also supplying certification for other quality food producers such as Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, Kentish Ales and West Country Beef and Lamb.
A summary of the TFTA’s Code of Practice includes:
- Turkeys must be from high welfare and slow-growing strains, (traceable to hatch date and flock)
- Grown to maturity – strictly, no less than 20 weeks. (Average grow time 20-26 weeks).
- All birds must be reared to our free-range requirements.
- Natural cereal diet, with no additives (unless vet prescribed). Diets should contain from 10 weeks, a minimum of 70% cereals, which can include wheat.
- Facilities inspected annually by independent inspection body (Kiwa); against TFTA growing standards and also separately for quality of finished product. All housing must be limited to a maximum total weight of bird, per building.
- Stocking Densities, for free-range turkeys – not more than 25kg per m2.
- Slaughtered on site by licensed personnel only. (Slaughter and EV done as separate processes.)
- Dry Plucked and hand finished. (No wet plucking).
- Hanging for a minimum 7 days in a temperature-controlled environment.
- EV and distribution must be approved by Environmental Health Inspectorate or MHS, meet current legislation and have HACCP in place.
- Birds are packed (with separately packed giblets), in greaseproof paper and in boxes clearly marking the contents and weight in kilos.
It is a paid certification process with checks made at the turkey farm against the three stages; Growing, Slaughter and Finishing, presentation and labelling – if all standards are met a Certificate of Conformity is issued and the TFTA then provide the Farmer with a Golden Turkey Quality Assurance certificate, which they can display in their office or farm shop.
Becoming a fully certified Golden Turkey Farmer is a unique selling point, it is a mark that represents the ultimate in Christmas turkeys in terms of; eating quality, welfare standards and environmental responsibility. The standard means we:
– choose slower-growing breeds and rear them to full maturity
– our turkeys are dry plucked, finished by hand, and then hung to dry-age for at least seven days.
– our special way of processing is in keeping with proven traditional practices, to ensure the finest texture and flavour for the most special meal of the year.
– TFTA Golden Turkeys are uniquely the first product in the UK to gain EU recognition with a designation for ‘Traditional Speciality Guaranteed’ or TSG.
Choose a Golden Turkey – the gold standard for Quality, Welfare and Taste the Christmas
Our TFTA members and accredited Golden Turkey Farmers are family farms that are keen to produce the very best traditional turkey in the best way possible. Many are small to medium size farmers and producers, who never sell to supermarkets, but sell direct from the farmgate and more recently, may offer a delivery service.
With attention on our Food and Farming standards in this country and the effects of Covid 19, it’s more important than ever to support your local Golden Turkey Farmer this Christmas – to enjoy a delicious roast turkey for Christmas Day – and with plenty spare for tasty meals on Boxing Day and beyond!
If you are a turkey farmer and interested in joining the TFTA to become a Golden Turkey Farmer – please get in contact via the form on the ‘About Us’ section of our website.