Louise from Beacon Compliance, the Food Safety Experts, gives us the low down on different levels of food safety accreditation.
You’ve created the best product you’ve ever tasted. You’ve designed the packaging so it jumps off the shelf, and you’ve just received interest from your first buyer, woohoo! But what you may not know, is that one of the first questions they’ll ask is, “Have you got any food safety accreditation?”. Alarm bells start ringing while you reply, “Sorry, we don’t”, and before you know it, they’ve packed their bag and moved onto the next business, leaving you deflated and frustrated. So you don’t end up in this situation, I’m on hand to explain the different levels of food safety accreditation.
First up, SALSA (no, not the dip). SALSA, Safe and Local Supplier Approval, is a food safety scheme aimed at small food producers. SALSA is made up of 4 sections: Prerequisite Controls, HACCP, Management System & Documentation, and Premises, and consists of an annual audit. This would be considered the minimum level of accreditation needed to supply wholesalers and local retailers.
Next on the list is STS’s (Support, Training & Services) Food Safety Standard for Food Suppliers and Distributors. This essentially covers the requirements of SALSA but in more detail, and also has ‘extra’ requirements to control Listeria monocytogenes. An audit is required annually but a biannual audit may be required depending on the nature of the product. This standard is a must when supplying the NHS and public sector.
BRCGS’s food safety standard comes next. BRCGS (Brand Reputation through Compliance Global Standards) are highly used throughout the food industry because they’re recognised globally! Designed for larger manufacturers, this standard is currently split into 9 sections covering all aspects of the process. However, recognising that not all businesses are at that level, BRCGS have recently developed the BRCGS Start! programme which has been designed for smaller manufacturers who want to show they’re working towards the globally recognised standard. Again, an annual audit is required and both standards are sufficient to supply the major retailers.
Last but not least are the retailers’ own standards. Yes, the large retailers in the UK have their own food safety standards which are very thorough (even more so than BRCGS). These standards are required if you want to supply the retailers with retailer branded products.
And there we have it! Four main types of food safety accreditation required to get you into those all-important wholesalers and retailers. Which one will you choose? Stick with me in the next few issues to find out about the key topics that are required in each of the above standards.