A trio of Welsh companies has successfully passed SALSA food safety certification audits thanks to the support of the Welsh Government and EU-backed Project HELIX.

Rhondda Cynon Taf based SamosaCo is celebrating securing the crucial certification whilst Powys based Cradoc’s Savoury Biscuits and Monmouthshire’s Trealy Farm Charcuterie have successfully extended their certification. The companies all received assistance from Project HELIX, a pan-Wales strategic initiative delivered by Food Innovation Wales, which provides funded technical and commercial support for Welsh food and drink companies.

SALSA certification is important for many food and drink producers to supply their products to national and regional buyers as it demonstrates that companies are operating to food safety standards that are recognised and accepted across the industry.

Based in Rhondda Cynon Taf, SamosaCo produces a range of plant based vegan and vegetarian snacks, meals, and side dishes. SamosaCo contacted ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre at Cardiff Met University, one of three Food Innovation Wales centres, in September 2020 when it was looking for support with preparing for the requirements of SALSA. A ZERO2FIVE technologist mentored the company to review and implement changes to their production processes in line with SALSA standards and following this support, SamosaCo successfully secured SALSA Certification in February 2021.

Sokhy Sandhu, managing director, SamosaCo said:

“Achieving SALSA certification will be key for us to secure additional retail and wholesale customers to make up for the decline in foodservice customers resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The support from ZERO2FIVE has helped our company develop through each stage of its growth and we hope to continue working with them on the next stage of our journey.”

Founded in 2004, Monmouthshire-based Trealy Farm Charcuterie, produces award-winning artisan charcuterie using traditional methods. Trealy Farm Charcuterie has a long history of working with ZERO2FIVE, with the company receiving regular support with internal audits to check their documentation and processes against the requirements of SALSA. In February 2021, Trealy Farm Charcuterie successfully passed its remote SALSA audit with no non-conformances, an impressive achievement.

Caroline Davies, technical manager of Trealy Farm Charcuterie said:

“Having SALSA certification has been vital in helping Trealy Farm Charcuterie to grow. It has helped us to secure a diverse range of customers across the UK, from restaurant chains, delis and pubs, to hotels, farm shops and caterers. ZERO2FIVE’s ongoing support and guidance has been important to allow us to maintain this crucial certification.”

Mid Wales’s Cradoc’s Savoury Biscuits combines fresh vegetables, herbs and spices to create colourful crackers. With the support of ZERO2FIVE, Cradoc’s successfully gained SALSA certification in September 2019 and continues to receive assistance with internal audits as part of the process of maintaining its certification. In its most recent SALSA audit in March 2021, it successfully passed with no non-conformances.

Allie Thomas owner of Cradoc’s said:

“We set about obtaining SALSA certification with the aim of securing new retail and food service channels, business growth and more employment opportunities within the company. Whilst COVID-19 has been a setback, we hope that having this certification will help us to deliver our goals.”

Commenting on the good news, Eluned Morgan, the Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Welsh Language, said:

“These three companies demonstrate the opportunities that are available to Welsh businesses seeking to achieve food safety certification such as SALSA.

“One of the most important ways we can continue to grow the Welsh food and drink industry is through helping companies secure third-party certification and the support available through Project HELIX is at the forefront of realising this ambition.”

Professor David Lloyd, on behalf of ZERO2FIVE and Food Innovation Wales, said:

“Food Innovation Wales has a range of expertise in all aspects of securing and maintaining third-party food safety certification and through Project HELIX we are able to share this knowledge with the Welsh food and drink industry. If you’re considering the benefits of certification for your company then I encourage you to get in touch to find out more about the funded support which may be available.”

For further information about Project HELIX funded support with SALSA certification, visit https://foodinnovation.wales/funded-support/