How our SALSA plus Seafood Standard is bringing real benefits to members

At the SSA, we recognised a specific need to drive and improve standards within the Seafood Processing Industry. To meet this requirement we have developed our own technical standard that is bespoke for the seafood processing sector – the first of its kind in the UK.

The SALSA plus Seafood standard delivers a minimum standard for the seafood processing sector, and our aim is for all SSA members to be accredited with this technical standard. Furthermore, it has been deliberately developed to ensure it is achievable for any company, provided they devote some time to ensure its successful implementation.

As this yearbook and diary went to press, 10 seafood companies from Aberdeenshire have signed up to an initial pilot, with Aberdeen City Council looking to match that with another 10 businesses from within the Aberdeen city boundary.

This means that in the near future we hope to have 20 companies in our membership complying with the standard, which would be a fantastic first step in driving standards up across the whole Scottish seafood sector.

Achieving the standard will deliver improvements to how a business operates, reduces risk and will also deliver tangible marketing advantages, including the ability to put the standard logo on websites, promotional material and the side of fish boxes for both the domestic and export markets. In short, this will become the standard that everyone in the industry aspires to achieving.

As part of the certification process, we have created 2 bespoke Food Safety and Quality manuals to meet the SALSA plus Seafood Standard. The Quality manual incorporates Policies, Procedures and Process Control Documents. The HACCP manual incorporates their Food Safety plan and includes Scope, Pre- Requisites, Micro-Organisms and Risks, Flow Diagrams, Hazard Tables and Documentation. The SSA will provide businesses with advice, support and mentoring to ensure compliance with the standard. The accreditation process will be independently audited by SALSA.

REHIS Training Centre

Meanwhile, we have also been very active in the training side, and are delivering a range of specialised courses jointly certified by Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS) and Seafish.  REHIS, is an independent, self-financing registered Scottish charity whose main objectives are for the benefit of the community to promote the advancement of Environmental Health.

Our specialised courses include:

• REHIS/Seafish Food Hygiene (Level 1, 2 & 3) • REHIS/Seafish HACCP (Level 1, 2 & 3) • REHIS/Seafish Health & Safety (Level 1 & 2) • REHIS Allergen Awareness (Level 2)

The purpose of the training is to upskill the existing workforce, while new entrants to the industry will be provided with a structured induction programme covering health and safety, basic knife skills and food hygiene.

The SSA will interact closely with its members and the wider seafood industry to identify knowledge and skill gaps and will be designing training provision to address those needs.

A key component of the new initiative will be getting out into the wider community and into schools, colleges and the hospitality sector to promote seafood industry-related careers.

We are also engaging with the larger government initiative, Developing the Young Workforce (DYW), a scheme in Scotland to ensure young people are fully and fairly supported into employment by bridging the gap between education and employers. It aims to encourage and support employers to engage directly with schools and colleges; and challenge and support employers to recruit more young people into their workforce.

With this in mind, the Scottish Seafood Association is running projects that prepare young people at entry-level for a life in the seafood processing industry.

For the industry to grow, we are investing in young people that will not only be able to fill knowledge and skill gaps at companies but, in time, spearhead our industry in the future.

Through the regional DYW groups, we can support our local members in connecting them with young people interested in becoming involved in the seafood supply chain, ensuring that our sector prospers for many years to come.