Soil Association & SALSA launch dual audit option for small producers

A new tie-in between SALSA and Soil Association Certification sees the launch of a time and cost-saving ‘dual audit option’ for small producers wishing to be certificated by both bodies.

In the first arrangement of its kind, SALSA and Soil Association Certification are launching a dual audit for small and micro producers in the UK wishing to hold certification for both organic and food safety.

The new dual audit represents a collaboration between Soil Association Certi?cation, the UK’s leading organic certification body, certifying over 70% of the expanding organic food and drink sector and SALSA, the food safety certification scheme for the UK’s small producers.

Sally Ball, SALSA Scheme Manager, explains, “This new tie-in represents a significant milestone for both certification bodies and for our small producers. It allows members to reap the significant time and cost saving rewards, whilst ensuring they are operating to a robust, recognised food safety standard. Approved businesses can confidently access a wider market, in particular supermarket chains and catering suppliers.”

The dual audit will be available to new and existing SALSA-registered businesses and all Soil Association Certification licensees wishing to extend their credentials. Instead of being audited twice, on two separate occasions, the business will only be audited once, within a working day. Benefits to small producers include reductions in time, resources and money; all areas critical to running a successful small business. Businesses which register for this option will save £100 on the regular SALSA fee.

Launch is planned for November 2016, but businesses can register an expression of interest through the SALSA website at: SALSA Dual Audits.

Stroud-based Kitchen Garden Foods, who make jams and preserves (pictured), is an example of a business which requires both Soil Association Certification and SALSA certifications. James Horwood, from Kitchen Garden Foods, explained, “We know that organic is growing, but there are still hurdles small businesses like us need to cross.

'A joint audit will help us prove to buyers and customers that we have people’s best interests at heart – that we are producing organically grown, safe food independently certified by both Soil Association Certification and SALSA. As a small business, we don’t have huge amounts of resource, so being able to combine the two accreditations really makes sense!”

This year, the Soil Association Certification expects the value of the organic market to exceed £2bn and all channels are showing an opportunity for increased sales. Their Organic Market Report [1] highlighted Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose as the biggest retailers of organic with over 80% of the total supermarket sales of organic between them.

Lee Holdstock, Trade Relations Officer at Soil Association Certification, added, “The organic market is in strong growth with sales up over 5% this year, but the consumer is changing too. What we term ‘millennials’ increasingly want to know about their food and our organic certification is well positioned to deliver the innovation, integrity of origin and reassurance this new consumer demands. The dual audit with SALSA will help make the certification process much simpler and easier for producers, providing more opportunities to strengthen their market profile.”

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