The distinctive red logo, which was introduced 12 years ago, was designed to assure shoppers in all supermarkets that the meat, dairy and other produce they buy has been made to high animal welfare standards.
The logo, which was launched in 2000 by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, also signified that the food was British.
However Sainsbury's said that it will phase out the kitemark because its shoppers are confused by the high number of logos on food packaging. Although the retailer said that it will maintain the "standards" that Red Tractor is based on, its decision irritated farmers.
A spokesman for the Red Tractor scheme said that almost 80,000 farmers have been left "extremely disappointed" by the supermarket's decision to ditch the assurance scheme.
The spokesman said: "We know that our 79,000 assured farmers will be dismayed. Farmers are rightly proud of the logo and work hard to produce food to high standards of food safety, animal health and welfare and environmental protection.
"This move by Sainsbury's will mean shoppers will no longer have this independent assurance on-pack."
A spokesman for farmers' union the NFU described the news as "extremely disappointing".
Sainsbury's said that there are simply too many logos on food products. It denied that it was "stepping back" from supporting British farmers.
The retailer said: "Customers have told us that too many logos are confusing, so we will be phasing out the use of the Red Tractor logo on pack. We will still use the Red Tractor standards as part of our wider sourcing standards.
"Suggesting this is a step back from supporting British farmers couldn’t be further from the truth; we are actually stepping up our commitment. We aim to double our sales of British food by 2020.
Over the last five years we’ve invested £40 million into British farming, for example paying our Dairy Development Group farmers a premium for good animal husbandry and environmental practices well above what is defined by Red Tractor."
The chain said it has "led the way" in ensuring that its suppliers are looked after.
The Red Tractor scheme has not been without controversy.
In the summer the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned an ad for Red Tractor-labelled pork after an animal welfare group claimed that some pigs in the UK were kept in crowded pens.
The NFU spokesman said that Red Tractor appears on products worth £12 billion in retail sales each year, making it the most widely used assurance logo within the UK market.
"It is the benchmark that many consumers actively look for when deciding what to buy. It is essential to avoid confusion amongst consumers over the origin of products, not just on fresh meat, but also dairy, processed meat products and fresh produce where confusion is still evident.
The Red Tractor is the only guarantee that a product labelled as British is British right through the chain."
He said that the union is "reassured" that Sainsbury's will continue to use Red Tractor "standards".
A spokesman for the supermarket said that the Red Tractor logo appears on around 3,000 British food products.
It was unclear last night whether other supermarkets will follow Sainsbury's decision.
Meat Trade News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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