The UK food industry has launched a new food safety scheme designed to make it easier and more affordable for local food producers and manufacturers to directly supply local retailers.

The Safe and Local Supplier Approval (SALSA) scheme was officially launched by Jeff Rooker, Minister for Sustainable Farming and Food, at the International Food Exhibition in London today (19 March).

SALSA is a low cost but rigorous scheme that works with local producers to ensure that they have robust food safety procedures in place, Rooker said.

"SALSA is about helping small and local food and drink producers to demonstrate, at a reasonable cost, that they meet the standards expected by national buyers.  It has the potential to open new opportunities to supply retailers and caterers both locally and nationally," Rooker commented. "Retailers and caterers will also benefit by increasing their range of locally produced food, safe in the knowledge that it meets the necessary legislative requirements."

Membership of the SALSA scheme allows producers and processors to demonstrate their ability to meet food safety legislative requirements. It is the first UK-wide scheme of its kind, and the establishment of a universal structure is expected to significantly reduce costs for suppliers and their customers.