A Pontypool based bakery is one of three food businesses in Wales to achieve food safety certification through a new programme.

Juvela, a bakery specialising in gluten-free food for coeliac patients, has secured important Safe and Local Supplier Approval (SALSA) certification.

The bakery, along with Swansea's Joe’s Ice Cream and Prima Foods from Llanelli, partnered with the Welsh Government funded Project HELIX.

This project provides affiliates from the ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University to businesses for a minimum of a year, aiding them to improve their technical or commercial abilities.

This certification is of great importance for food manufacturers as it demonstrates that they are operating to industry-recognised food safety standards.

This certification enables them to supply their products to both national and regional retailers.

In the latter part of 2023, Juvela welcomed a technical affiliate.

Their aid over a few months was instrumental in achieving the SALSA certification in March 2024.

Along with the new achievement, the bakery also maintained its gluten-free certification from the Association Of European Coeliac Societies (AOECS).

Simon Dawson, technical manager at Juvela said: "SALSA is brand new to Juvela, so training and support for our team were essential to make the process as pain-free as possible.

"The work of the affiliate and the support from ZERO2FIVE has been paramount in this."

The certification success story extends beyond the bakery, leading to significant expansion plans.

"Having the new standards in place has allowed us to push for additional customer business in retail, food service and business-to-business, and we are now in the process of extending our site and product range", said Mr Dawson.

Joe's Ice Cream in Swansea was able to maintain its SALSA certification.

This assures their positioning in the market, enabling them to continue supplying their products to major retailers.

Lucy Hughes, director at Joe's Ice Cream, praised the program, saying: "Successfully maintaining our SALSA certification has expanded our market reach and enhanced our supplier credibility.

"We would recommend partnering with ZERO2FIVE, particularly for their deep knowledge in food safety, quality management and regulatory compliance."

On the other hand, Llanelli's Prima Foods passed the British Retail Consortium Global Standard (BRCGS) audit in 2023 with the help of a technical affiliate from ZERO2FIVE.

This certification is crucial for them, as it lets them continue to provide their goods to retail, foodservice and manufacturing customers.

Peter Rice, managing director of Prima Foods, said: "Project HELIX has given us the confidence to invest in and grow our business, knowing that we’ve got the technical back up of the experts at ZERO2FIVE.

"The mentoring they offer to the affiliate acts as a gateway to expertise and knowledge that we don’t have in house."

More information about Project HELIX support for Welsh food and drink companies can be found at the ZERO2FIVE website