North Coast Food Producers to work to a new SALSA beat

Food producers on the North Coast will be working to a new SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval) beat with the introduction of a new food safety support programme.

The SALSA Accreditation Support Programme, which has just been launched by the four councils in Ballymoney, Coleraine, Limavady and Moyle, is one of four initiatives developed by the four councils to help smaller food firms to achieve recognised quality standards and equip them to better increase sales.

The project is part financed by Ballymoney Borough Council, Coleraine Borough Council, Limavady Borough Council and Moyle District Council, and by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.“SALSA is a nationally recognized food safety certification scheme specifically developed for small and micro producers and is recognised by most of the UK’s major food retailers and food service providers,” explained Martin Clark, Economic Development Officer with Coleraine Borough Council. “By achieving a formal level of accreditation, local food businesses can prove to prospective customers that they operate to a particular quality and food safety standard. We expect that, by achieving food safety recognition, SALSA will open doors for our small North Coast food producers to supply more retailers and food service companies, and ultimately grow their businesses.”

The programme, which is being delivered by i2 Total Marketing, aims to help small local food producers put in place robust food safety procedures. The participating businesses will each receive mentoring, workshop and pre-audit supports, as well as the final audit and SALSA membership.

Seamus Mc Adams of i2 explained the benefit of SALSA accreditation for local food producers: “With the growing popularity of local and regionally sourced products among industry and consumers, the scheme provides national and regional buyers with the confidence that SALSA approved businesses not only make fantastic products, but do so in a safe and legal manner.

The scheme allows businesses to demonstrate that they operate using an effective food safety standard. The scheme’s wide acceptance by retailers and food service providers has assisted in SALSA becoming the Food Safety Scheme for producers with big ambitions.”

Des Gartland, Manager of Invest NI’s North West Regional Office said: “Our food sector is a strong and rapidly growing part of our economy. This new initiative, supported by Invest NI will help food companies across the North Coast region to benefit from formal industry accreditation so they can strengthen their market position and take advantage of new business opportunities. The Invest NI support is part of a wider series of local economic development measures that aim to support business initiatives in council areas right across Northern Ireland.”

Recruitment for the programme is now open and places are limited to ten firms. Anyone wishing to sign up should telephone Janice at i2 on 7188 6131 or email Janice@i2totalmarketing.com.