Celebrating 15 Years of SALSA!

15 years and growing strong!  

Celebrating our 15th anniversary year, SALSA, the food safety certification scheme for small producers today has over 2000 members, has conducted over 15,000 audits and supported 1000’s of food and drink businesses through our training and mentoring programme.

When SALSA was first launched in April 2007, we had a clear vision to become the scheme of choice for small and local producers to demonstrate their compliance with recognised food safety standards.  We achieved this by making the Scheme affordable to smaller businesses, appropriate to the size and nature of their operation, and credible to meet the safety demands of buyers and sellers of food to consumers.  This holds true today and we are proud to represent so many of the UK’s small, safe and local suppliers.

Since it began, the Scheme has developed many new initiatives, including sector-specific Cheese and Beer ‘Plus’ standards, in association with the Specialist Cheesemakers Association and Cask Marque – watch this space for ice cream in June!  In 2020 our Brokers, Storage and Distribution Standard was launched to address the needs of small wholesalers and fine food distributors, providing food safety assurance across the supply chain. The SALSA Standard continues to evolve and develop, keeping pace with legislation and industry best practice and the needs of specific food sectors – look out for SALSA Standard Issue 6 landing in June!

First-year members, Clootie McToot, gained their first SALSA Certificate earlier this year.  Company founder, Michelle Maddox, told us why she chose SALSA for their business. “There are lots of different certification schemes for food producers in the UK. We chose SALSA because we share a lot of its core values. Their first value is ‘safe food first’, which is a principle we push to the forefront of our business. To meet the SALSA Standard and gain our certificate, we had to prove that we produce safe and legal food in front of a SALSA auditor. We are now proud to guarantee our customers the SALSA Standard - they can expect the best practices in food preparation and hygiene when they purchase a clootie dumpling from us. Our new SALSA certification ensures that we not only meet current food laws and standards, but we also exceed them. SALSA promotes an ‘enhanced’ approach to food management which means that we stay head and shoulders above the competition.”

15 years on, SALSA is synonymous with food safety for smaller producers across the entire UK food and drink industry.  It is a testament to the strengths and relevance of the Scheme, that when the pandemic struck, the level of knowledge and experience within the SALSA community, along with a good deal of hard-work and creativity, not only allowed the Scheme to keep running, but also allowed a period to reassess, reorganise and bounce back stronger.

As for the next 15 years, we will be looking to go further, developing additional ways to practically support and guide our members. We will expand our already successful training and service offerings to meet the changing needs of our industry and community, keep an ear to the ground with our stakeholders

“The most rewarding aspect for me is how the whole industry has embraced one of the core values of SALSA - to constantly improve the food and drink sector’s understanding and ability to make quality products that are both safe and wholesome. This ethos has benefited thousands of people and smaller businesses and, without doubt, brought on a change in the landscape.  The industry has opened up from being a handful of large, and several medium-sized firms - to taking in thousands of small businesses driven by commitment, pride and innovation to meet modern consumer demands.  I hope SALSA continues to enable our industry to work together to open doors to growth and success for all.

An enormous thank you must go to our dedicated team at Bloxham, and our expert cohort of 80 plus Auditors and Mentors who have worked solidly to support and improve the industry and community they care about.

Thank you also to the Scheme partners who shared this vision from day one and came together to create the Scheme for the benefit of the whole industry:  the Institute of Food Science & Technology, National Farmers Union, Food & Drink Federation and UK Hospitality.  

We would also like to remember and thank the ‘early years’ support from the BRC, DEFRA and the FSA, who all saw the need and potential for SALSA.”

Chris Grimes, SALSA Scheme Founder & Director