In collaboration with a client in the snacking industry, we achieved a significant milestone – SALSA certification. Our journey through this certification process was an incredible experience, filled with valuable insights, lessons, and tips that I’d like to share with anyone facing a similar challenge.
- Allocate Dedicated Time: When venturing into a new certification process like SALSA, it’s crucial to set aside dedicated time. This can be especially demanding for smaller businesses, but it’s an essential step.
- Commitment and Continuous Improvement: Obtaining SALSA certification is just the beginning. The real commitment lies in consistently adhering to SALSA requirements and continually improving your processes.
- Consider Professional Guidance: If your budget allows, consider hiring a Food Safety Consultant or mentor. They can provide invaluable guidance throughout the certification journey. While doing it yourself is possible, having expert assistance can streamline the process.
- Allow Room for Learning: Embrace the learning curve. New processes and record-keeping demand time for training and adjustments. Be prepared to allow for trial and error to refine your procedures.
- Plan for the Long Haul: Building a robust SALSA system can take several months, ideally even a year for thorough implementation. While it’s possible to pass an audit with some gaps, it’s crucial to demonstrate competence in all 4 elements outlined in the standard: Prerequisite Controls; HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) – legal requirement, Management Systems and Documentation; Premises, Layout and Structure.
- Cultural Shift: Understand that adapting to new processes can be a slow and challenging cultural shift. People have different ways of embracing change. Leading by example is paramount in successfully executing these new procedures.
- Attention to Detail: Pay meticulous attention to details, especially when it comes to critical control points that safeguard your product from a food safety perspective. Ensure that measurement equipment like scales, thermometers are calibrated your cleaning methods are validated accordingly.
SALSA certification is a significant achievement particularly for small or middle size businesses, and it’s worth the effort. It not only ensures the safety of your products but also reflects your commitment to quality and excellence in the eyes of consumers. It allows you to grow in sustainable way and approach safely bigger markets. Embrace the journey, learn from it, and continuously strive for improvement.