Frequently Asked Questions

Any particular queries you may have, you should find the answers here. Otherwise, please do ring us and we'll be pleased to help.

 

What accreditation and traceability do you offer?

We have full SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval) accreditation. SALSA is a food safety standard and has been given to us because we have demonstrated that we produce safe and legal products, and constantly work towards meeting what is required of the standard. This is awarded annually, and this scheme is operated by the Institute of Food Science and Technology and instigated by four main food trade associations – the NFU, the Food and Drink Federation, the British Hospitality Association and the British Retail Consortium.

 Having supplied a substantial range of restaurant groups and large-scale catering and other wholesale companies in the past, we have very thorough and detailed levels of backup and accreditation across all aspects of our sourcing and production.

There is full traceability back to farm for every product we make. We have full local EHO approval through Monmouthshire County Council. Our EU approval number is UKMM014 and we are proud to hold a 5 star hygiene rating.

Are there any allergens in your products?

We have no allergens in any of our products, ever. This means, of course, that we are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and soy-free - amongst others. Only two products contain a small quantity of non-gluten containing cereal, the Boudin Noir which uses authentic Italian polenta-style maize-meal and the Hog’s Pudding which uses gluten-free oats from Glebe Farm. Some salami, especially those made in France contain elements of dairy, but ours do not.

Although not an official allergen, we do have requests for information from customers who are allergic or intolerant to members of the onion / allium family including garlic, leeks etc. Please contact us for specifics about this as recipes do change from time to time. However, at present all our salami range, apart from the Blood, Wine and Chocolate Chorizo and the Duck, Pork, Pepper and Chinese Five Spice Salami, currently contain at least some garlic as well as one or two of our other meat products.

 

Do your products contain nitrates and nitrites?

This is a *vast* question and we have often talked for 30 minutes+ with people just to get the bare essentials of this issue nailed down. In short, we don’t use nitrates. We do use sodium nitrite in very small quantities. Nitrites, however, don’t remain in the meat for long and we have test results to show that all our air-dried products (which are long matured) have no residual nitrite in them (lab results test down to 5milligrams per kilo) at the point of sale. We are obliged to use small amounts of nitrites as they protect against a wide range of potentially pathogenic organisms and are pretty much the only thing that protects against botulism (other than cooking to over 121 degrees centigrade). Because of this Environmental Health pretty much insist on it. Beware, incidentally, of ‘nitrite-free’ products which actually contain commercially obtainable nitrite derived from vegetables, such as celery, which currently slip through E.U. labelling law on the subject. We are happy to talk to you further on this issue and plan to increase the amount of information around this topic on our website in the future.

Are Nitrates/Nitrites safe?

There is plenty of information regarding the current thought on the safety of nitrates/nitrites. We do not use nitrates and our minimal use of nitrites is explained above.  

 

Do your products contain sugar? Why is dextrose listed in ingredients for your products?

All our salami, semi-dried sausages and air-dried meat products have around 3% dextrose added to them at the start of their curing and fermentation process. This is essential as all our products are fermented and, as with all fermentation bacteria, the cultures added to them require simple sugars in order to metabolise and produce the enzymes etc that make the final ‘live’ products what they are.

There is certainly no expectation that any dextrose will be left in the product at the end of the very lengthy process that produces the final products (much as, for instance, cider-making yeasts will turn all sugars in apple juice into alcohol during fermentation when making cider). However, this is not something that we can absolutely guarantee, especially at trace levels, as it is not something we have ever tested for.

Other than these categories of fermented product the only product of ours with added (a delicious unrefined muscovado) sugar is the Boudin Noir.

 

Is charcuterie dangerous because it hasn’t been cooked?

In simple terms, no, charcuterie is not dangerous. Although the product is technically uncooked, it is cured, before fermenting and air-drying, a process which renders it safe to eat. All our products are continually laboratory tested to ensure that everything is entirely safe to eat.

 

What wild boar do you use and is it 100% wild boar?

For our regular wild boar products, we have finally managed to track down a regular source of British wild boar that is genuinely 100% sus Scrofa wild boar. This has been very difficult to source as hardly anyone in the UK raises them as you need a ‘Dangerous Animals’ licence to do so; the resulting fencing requirements alone cost a fortune.

We refuse to use crosses such as ‘Iron Age Pigs’ as the flavour is simply not the same, even if they claim it to be three quarters Wild Boar. However, probably due to the difficulty in sourcing 100% British wild boar, essentially that’s what nearly everyone raises and most producers, in the UK, use.  You might have seen the genetic tests recently done by DEFRA that showed over 75% of UK ‘Wild Boar’ products had no wild boar in at all. We know we are making life hard for ourselves by playing by the rules in terms of sourcing and labelling in an area that is virtually un-policed but we feel it is a principled and necessary stance.

If large bespoke orders for wild boar are placed with us, we will however, source this from genuinely wild, shot in the wild, 100% wild boar from Continental Europe. This is because of the sourcing difficulties outlined above. This is incidentally the only ever time when we feel it necessary and justified to sell products made with meat from outside the UK. We will always let you know if this is the case.

 

Can I get samples? (Wholesale customers only)

If you do not have an account with us and require samples of our products, we can send a selection of our air-dried product ranges for a charge of £10 that is refundable upon your first order. Normally this would be a selection of 2-3 slices of a range of approximately 10 of our air-dried product range. This can be your own choice of products, or else you can leave us to choose, perhaps after having had a conversation with us about how you are thinking you might use them.

Unfortunately, we cannot send samples of any of our chilled products (eg Boudin Noir, cooking Chorizo) as part of this refundable charge offer, since chilled delivery simply costs us too much. The sending of chilled samples is possible, but we would require a small £10, non-refundable payment to cover these. Of course, such a request could also include a sample of air-dried products. If you have an account with us and are making an order, we are always happy to include samples of other products of ours in with your order. We have a wide selection of products and are always happy for customers to experiment with different product lines from us.

 

How do your prices compare with other British charcuterie companies?

We are, on average, amongst the most competitively priced British charcutiers, for like-for-like products. With our uncompromisingly high welfare credentials and quality sourced ingredients we have the best tools at our disposal for creating our multi-award-winning charcuterie. Our prices are comparable to the best hams and salami from Spain and Italy, and of course also offer the ‘added value’ aspect of being British, Free-Range, Rare Breed, Artisan Made and Award Winning – a list to celebrate on menus!

 

Can you come and visit and train our staff? (Wholesale customers only)

We are very happy to come and visit customers to help with any aspect of product development or staff training or simply to meet and chat about our product range. Contact us and we will work out a possible time. Unfortunately, this may not happen right away, but we will try and fit in any such visits as soon as we can.

 

Can I visit the production unit?

The main production unit for TFC can be visited. Visiting the production unit is usually only possible on weekday afternoons after production is over for the day. In any event, please contact us to discuss a visit.

 

We have our own animals; can you process these for us?

Yes, we offer this service and can produce a range of charcuterie for you including bacon, hams, air dried meat and salami. We have a minimum processing requirement of 1 pig and 10kg of individual product produced. Please contact us for a discussion and for our price list.

 

Format of products and slicing

 

What are options for having my products sliced?

There are two standard formats in which we offer our products sliced. Ask us for a separate list if you require your products pre -sliced and packed, ready for direct retail sale. These are normally 60 or 70g sliced vac-pacs on attractive gold backed boards. However, if you need your product pre-sliced, for use in a restaurant or catering type situation, then we offer any of our products sliced into 250g wholesale sliced packs. The charge for doing this is an extra £10 per kilo over and above the whole piece kilo price for salamis and air-dried meats, and £3 a kilo over for bacon.

If you require specific bespoke pre-sliced options, eg. a selection of meats to a certain weight, designed for individual customer portions, we may be able to offer them ourselves. Please note that all pre-slicing that we do ourselves will be in vac-pac form. We can arrange bespoke slicing including map packing for larger orders (e.g pallet size). Pleasecontact us for further information. 

 

Can you recommend a meat slicer?

A full-size meat slicer has 12-inch blades. If you want to buy one of these second hand, we would recommend a Berkel or Hobart. They usually cost between £100 to £400 and can often be found on Ebay, Gumtree etc, but obviously check that they work and get them serviced if need be. Alternatively, you could go through a dealer of some kind which offers a better guarantee that they are fully functioning. Often slicer service engineers have them for sale or will check a second-hand one for you.

If you want to purchase a new one, the Stresa from Nisbets slices well and is very compact. The downside is that it is difficult to clean. Prices seem to vary considerably across the year. You can get smaller 10-inch blade versions which are cheaper and smaller and all you really need but these are still at least £300.

 

How should I slice my meats?

It is important to sharpen your meat slicer regularly (every day or two if you use it on a daily basis).

·         First, have the ham as cold as possible before slicing. Commercial slicing operations always part-freeze their ham before slicing, they call it ‘tempering’.

·         Then cut the Ham into two *against* the grain otherwise it can make the meat seem tougher and grainier in its consistency.

·         Then slice each half *from the outside in* on the slicer.

·         After every five slices or so *rotate* the ham piece so that the uppermost side now faces down on the slicer.

When using this method, the slices will be as tender as possible and this is also the best way to minimise leftover waste from the pieces.

 

To what thickness do/should you slice the products?

We recommend that you slice our Air-Dried products as thinly as possible i.e 1mm. The Salami and Chorizo slicing comes down to personal choice, however, as all our products have a more concentrated flavour, due to the air-drying process. Of course, many of our products can also be sliced into lardons, or diced, before using in recipes.

Our bacon too, is thinly sliced because as it is air-dried and has lost a lot of weight (the opposite of most bacon). As a result, the flavour is very concentrated, the meat is firmer, and shrinkage is minimal.  When sliced thicker the flavour becomes rather intense, a bit more like having a slab of gammon, and the meat is noticeably very dense. So, for the same reasons as you would always slice an air-dried ham paper-thin, we slice our bacon that much thinner to take advantage of the special way it is made and to show up its best features.

Our Boudin Noir and Hog’s Pudding should be sliced to a minimum of 5mm. For cooking instructions please click here

 

What can I do with the ends from whole meats and salamis, and any leftover skin from duck?

Inevitably, there will be some remaining product ‘ends’ when you slice whole meats and salamis, but these nuggets of flavour can be used to enliven recipes, adding taste and texture – try slicing into lardons or dicing and adding to sauces, soups and stews or on pizzas. Likewise, if you remove the skin from the whole duck breast, there are several tasty options. Sliced and rendered, duck skin yields a most delicious fat infused with a light smokiness – the resulting crisp ‘scratchings’ of duck skin, or ‘Grattons’ as they’re known in France, are quite delicious scattered over a salad or served with an aperitif.

 

Using and storing my products

 

What is the difference between ‘Use by’ and ‘Best before’ in relation to your products?

On our product and price list, we have four categories of product. The first two are air dried products: the salamis and whole muscle air dried meats. These products have a best before date. The third and fourth categories of product are our cured and cooked products. These have a ‘use by’ date. Products with a ‘use by’ date must be consumed by that date. The air-dried products with a ‘best before date’ do not have to be consumed by this date in the sense that if properly stored, they will continue to be safe to eat beyond this time. In many cases, they will be safe to eat long beyond this time. Our food safety testing for these products in most cases extends up to a year or more beyond the best before dates that we give on the label. The reason why we give the best before dates that we do is because they may no longer taste as good after this date. For ready sliced products in particular, there is a higher chance of change e.g. oxidation that may impact adversely on the flavour of the product. For whole pieces the product will usually stay just as good to eat beyond this date (and in some cases may even improve!). The key here is that products are stored in a cool, dry place (in most cases in a house this will be the fridge – and we assume in our micro testing that all products will be held below 5 degrees). Please see also sections on moulds and storage.

 

How does the new legislation affect use by dates on cooked products?

New legislation has come into force whereby we need to include a ‘use by after opening’ on all our products.  This ‘use by after opening’ date has to be based upon the assumption that at the time of first opening the product is heavily contaminated with dangerous bacteria – based on that assumption the product has to be ‘stress tested’ to determine how quickly those bacteria would grow to the point where they would constitute a definite danger to someone who would eat that product. Based on this worse-case situation this is the U.K.’s Environmental Health’s ‘default’ ‘use by after opening’ date for all cooked meats is 2-3 days. If you want to push the date further than that, as a company, you have to do your own testing to positively prove your product can do better than that. We are hoping to do that to push the date until at least five days, as we recognize how extremely restrictive the situation is for our customers. However, the testing needed is expensive and long-winded so it will take a while to see if we can do this or not.  We are happy to talk with you either by email or phone regarding this situation.

 

Do your air-dried products need chilling? / Why is the Air-dried meat and salami range delivered ambient but label says store below 5°c?

 The pre-sliced versions of any air-dried products definitely need chilling. In terms of the other ‘whole air-dried’ products, we recommend that they are kept in a fridge for quality reasons rather than safety reasons. This is mainly because fridges have a regulatory effect on the humidity of the air through the condenser extracting moisture as that they cool. If the atmospheric humidity becomes too high (above 80%) when storing products outside of the fridge, it can greatly compromise the quality of the products. The ‘Best Before’ shelf lives that we give are based on keeping the product chilled. We have performed tests to show the Air-Dried Meat and Salami ranges can be distributed, ambient, with no negative effect to the product but then should be stored chilled once delivered.

It is worth consulting your EH Officer in relation to this if you wish to store the products outside of the fridge as their responses can vary wildly!

 

My salami has green / white mould on it… is this okay?

All our Air-Dried Meats and Salamis are fermented and, like all fermented products they use fermentation cultures which can include moulds to develop both their flavour and, ironically for those concerned, their food safety! This is a completely natural process and part of what makes them safe and taste the way they do. Salamis made traditionally like ours are fermented with a natural fermentation culture, very like a live yoghurt culture which, incidentally, also makes them pro-biotic. If moulds start to appear on the outside it is a sign that where they are stored is a bit too humid for them (usually above about 75-80% humidity). You can always just wipe off the mould with a cloth or under lukewarm water with a brush, then leave to dry. However, leaving them consistently in a place which is more than about 75-80% humidity will mean they will start to go soft. That is why we recommend fridges for storage as the condenser in the fridge dries the air as it cools.

 

How should I store your products?

We recommend that once the whole product has been opened, if it is wrapped for storage, that it be in a breathable wrap of (food safe) muslin, cloth or paper. 

 

Can I hang your air-dried products in my shop or restaurant?

Our air-dried products all have ‘Best Before’ date and we have never in 15 years of testing obtained a negative result on any, even after up to three years. However, in the UK Environmental Health say air-dried meats cannot be hung up outside of fridges unless they are whole muscle meats that have not yet been sliced into. We would concur, but mainly on grounds that our UK atmosphere is far too humid most of the time for air-dried meats. They need to be kept below about 75-80% humidity maximum and fridges, as the condenser in them dries the air as it cools, provide the easiest way to do this and thus keep them at their best. However, if it is something you are considering, it would certainly be worth speaking to your EH Officer to explore this issue further and then coming back to us if you require any data or help. Effectively this means that we recommend storing in fridges in the U.K. All our shelf life/micro testing is based on products being at 5 degrees centigrade.

 

 Buying our products

 

How can I open an account?

Opening an account is simple. Please contact us for an account form, which contains all the relevant information. We require an immediate card payment for your first order and then we usually offer a 30 day credit account.

 

How can I pay?

We require all first payments from a customer in advance by either card or sometimes by BACS. Once you have an account with us in place, we would usually expect payment by BACS and if this is the case, we can usually offer you 30 days credit. If you wish to settle your account by card, that is possible, but we cannot offer you the 30 days credit due to having to absorb the card company charges so we would take any account payments by card immediately after despatch. We no longer accept cheques under any circumstances. BACS details are included at the bottom of every invoice.

 

Do you have a minimum order size?

We do not have any minimum order size; however, delivery charges do apply on smaller sized air-dried orders and on all chilled delivery orders. Therefore, relatively speaking, small orders have a proportionately higher delivery charge element which is worth bearing in mind especially as many of our products have very long best before and use by dates. If you would like to order bespoke or non-standard products from us we usually do have a minimum order size. This will vary by product so please discuss this with us. Delivery is free if ordering ambient products over the value of £300.

 

How do I order?

You can place your order by phone 01495 785090 or by email. We recommend email, unless you want to discuss the order with us, as it can be clearer, and we can access emails at any time (remember to tell us where you are emailing from!). Please feel free to ask if you need any advice or have any queries about the products at any stage. If something is not currently available, we will contact you asap to discuss what you would like to do.

 

Do you use plastics?

We do use plastic wrapping for all our products and our HACCP, required by law, has to cover their food safety, inter-species cross contamination of different meats, etc, up to the point of delivery. We currently have no means of doing that without the vacuum-packed plastic wrappings that we use. If you have advice on alternative wrapping products we could use and how companies in our position, transporting meat products of different types and incorporating meats from different species, amend and justify their HACCP transportation practices and chill effectively in transit without plastic then please do send it to us because we would be very grateful to know more. Investigating alternatives is an on-going process and we do hope to find some more eco-friendly solutions in the near future.  

 

Can I buy direct from the Unit?

You can buy direct from the TFC production unit at Goytre, NP4 0AL. We are usually open weekdays from 6am – 6pm. However, if you are intending to come to buy products, please contact us beforehand by phone or email both to make doubly sure that we will be open at the time you would like to come, and to check that we have, in stock, exactly what you would like to buy. If you require sliced products in any form, we will usually need some notice to prepare these for you.

 

Other possibilities to buy direct – farmer’s markets and food festivals:

Other regular possibilities to buy direct from us are at Stroud Farmers’ market on the 2nd Saturday of the month and Usk Farmers’ Market on the 1st and 3rd Sat of the month. If you want something in particular from us, you can call in advance and we can make sure we bring it for you. We are also at the Abergavenny Food Festival every September.

 

Delivery of your products

 

What is the latest I can order for next day delivery?

If you have an order for whole meat, please place it before 10am so that we can send it for next day delivery. We cannot guarantee a sliced order for next day delivery, but please phone us to discuss what is possible if you have an urgent request.

 

I need my order on a Saturday or Monday… what can you do?

We can send out by courier on a Friday, but restrictions apply. If your product requires chilling, we will only be able to send this out on Friday for a Saturday delivery, incurring a £16 surcharge from the courier which we would need to pass on. This is because the packaging does not hold temperature long enough to be able to be delivered on a Monday. If your products do not require chilling, we can send orders out on Friday for Monday delivery or a Saturday delivery (with surcharge of £16). Please contact us to discuss.

 

How soon can I get a delivery?

We send out delivery Monday to Thursday for delivery Tuesday to Friday. If you have an order for whole meat, please place it before 10am so that we can send it for next day delivery. If you miss this deadline, your order will arrive the day after (i.e. if you order on Monday afternoon, you can expect your products to arrive on Wednesday). Please note that most deliveries get to customers by no later than 3pm. Having said that, Parcelforce do not guarantee delivery before 6pm. Generally, orders that arrive after midday on Thursday will not be able to be sent out until the following Monday morning and therefore will not arrive until the following Tuesday. Please see further questions if you require more urgent delivery.

Orders of sliced meats will generally take a few days to prepare before they are despatched. Please contact us to discuss what is possible.

 

Do I always pay a delivery charge?

Deliveries direct from us with no min order, have a P&P charge of £9.75, unless you require a Saturday delivery for which there is a courier surcharge of £16. Orders of over £300 are free unless they are chilled. Please note we only pass on the delivery charge that we pay to Parcelforce and no extra. We offer plenty of ways to buy direct (see FAQ above) and please bear in mind that many of our products have a long shelf life, so you could consider buying in bulk. You might also consider co-op buying with other people.

 

Will someone need to be there?

All our courier deliveries require a signature from the customer. The only exception to this is if you yourselves place a note on the door of your establishment giving alternative instructions for e.g leaving the product box in a suitable safe place or with a neighbour. If you do this, you will need to leave signed and dated instructions for the Parcelforce driver that he will be able to take away to show as evidence to the company that he has fulfilled customer instructions. Unfortunately, giving us those instructions to pass on to the driver does not work, as it does not give sufficient guarantees.

 

Can I leave a note on the door for the delivery driver?

If the product is a chilled product it will need to go into a fridge as we can’t guarantee chilled temperature within the box after midday. Please note that couriers do not allow us, the sender, to give that sort of information about where to leave products. If you leave a signed and dated note on the door that the delivery driver can take away, however, the delivery driver will hopefully do so, especially if you are on good terms with them. The problem is that nowadays the delivery driver is held responsible for anything that goes missing so they are often reluctant to do so.

 

My delivery hasn’t turned up what can I do?

All our courier deliveries are made by Parcelforce or APC. All deliveries are designed to be next day deliveries. If your products need to be chilled, they will be sent on an am next day delivery. If you are expecting delivery and it has not arrived, please call us as early in the day as possible. The sooner we hear about any such problem, the more likely it is we can do something about it. Most deliveries get to customers by no later than 3pm. Having said that, Parcelforce do not guarantee delivery before 6pm. Nevertheless, if you have not had your product by mid-afternoon and are concerned about it, contact us and we can check online for the progress of your parcel.