Unfair practices across the dairy sector are being examined in a new government consultation.

The UK government working with the devolved administrations has launched a consultation seeking to end any unfair practices across the UK’s dairy sector.

Evidence gathered during the Groceries Code Adjudicator Call for Evidence in 2016 highlighted how unfair practices have persisted in the dairy industry.

This consultation will explore whether regulations could be introduced to ensure farmers are treated fairly.

This evidence suggests unfairness in the supply chain has sometimes been caused by milk buyers having the power to set and modify the milk price in a contract, often with little notification.

This leads to uncertainty and pricing that can be unfair to dairy farming businesses.

To supplement wider efforts to support dairy farmers during the coronavirus pandemic, the government is seeking views from dairy farmers and processors across the whole country on whether future regulation could be used to strengthen fairness and transparency.

Read more: Dairy Response Fund is open for applications (you could be entitled to £10,000)

Proposals include an option to introduce a mandatory pricing mechanism within all contracts between dairy farmers and processors.

This would ensure the price paid for milk produced by the farmer is formally agreed within the contract, and that contract negotiations take place in a clear and transparent way.

Farming minister Victoria Prentis said: “It is absolutely vital that our dairy farmers are paid fairly for their high quality produce and I am committed to cracking down on any unfair practices within the UK dairy industry.

“I welcome all views to this consultation to determine how best we can guarantee fairness across the supply chain.

"This will help the industry continue its vital role in feeding the nation and ensure our dairy farmers can continue to be competitive in the future.”

All queries regarding this consultation can be directed to dairycontractconsultation@defra.gov.uk