A food safety accreditation scheme for small, local food producers, which is recognised by the supermarkets and foodservice distributors, is proving particularly popular among bakery firms.

Set up in 2007, the Safe and Local Supplier Approval (SALSA) scheme currently has 85 members from the bakery sector, 34 of which have received full accreditation.

"The bakery sector is the most popular sector for SALSA members, along with dairy, chilled and frozen. We believe this may be because bakery is more appealing for small local produ-cers, who are just starting out in the food industry and following more traditional methods," said Keris Marsden, SALSA co-ordinator. "Scotland, south-east England and northern England have the highest proportion of bakery sector members."

SALSA is a low-cost alternative to BRC accreditation, ensuring producers have robust food safety procedures in place. The scheme, which has 1,500 members, is recognised by Sains-bury’s, Waitrose, Asda and Morrisons, as well as foodservice distributor 3663 and buyers in the public sector.

Stowmarket-based pie firm Fynn Valley Foods was asked to join the scheme by Norwich City Football Club, for whom it provides match day pies. Since gaining approval, it now supplies local county councils, as well as major retailers. Owner Jonathan King said: "SALSA has taken our business to another level without any huge expense."

Emma Goss-Custard, owner of Honeybuns Bakery, said that by rationalising the auditing process, SALSA had saved the company time and money, because larger customers did not usually need to send their own auditors.

The scheme costs £50 to register, plus £450 to be audited. Companies can be mentored by food safety experts at a cost of around £400 per day, with fun-ding support available from most Regional Food Groups.