The U.K. supermarket Tesco, a major buyer of fresh cherries, introduced its own integrated farm management scheme in 1992. The scheme, Nature’s Choice, sets environmental standards for suppliers, as well as product specifications.

The environmental standards cover:

—Rational use of plant protection products, fertilizers, and manures

—Pollution prevention

—Protection of human health

—Use of energy, water, and other natural resources

—Recycling and re-use of material

—Wildlife/landscape conservation and enhancement.

Farms must have a plan for managing the environment, detailing action to protect and encourage wildlife diversity, including planting hedgerows and creating wildlife corridors.

The company has been working with suppliers and independent agricultural experts to review the use of pesticides. After examining more than 6,000 pesticide uses on 80 crops, it has stopped the use of 190 and placed additional controls on another 570, according to Tesco’s Web site.

More than 6,000 farms in 41 countries are working towards meeting the Nature’s Choice requirements. The company aims to have all its suppliers in compliance by 2007.