The food safety culture journey

Safeguarding food safety is one of the most important challenges for manufacturers of dairy foods.

The introduction of food safety programs based on HACCP means manufacturers are concentrating on managing the important food hazards where and when they occur.

But food safety requires more than a HACCP plan, good manufacturing practices, and staff training. It needs to be all drawn together and put into the context of a business’ attitude and practices connected to food safety – the food safety culture.

A food safety culture is that combination of individual and group values, attitudes, competencies, and behaviours that determine the commitment of a food manufacturer to deliver safe and suitable food.

In the 21st century, a strong corporate food safety culture is essential. It must be built on the vision and values of the organisation’s leadership and their commitment to the production of safe and suitable foods. This includes the detailed documentation of work practices and securing the commitment and support of all personnel.

The vision establishes the company’s purpose, while value statements express behaviours and mindsets necessary to achieve that vision. These need to be communicated to all employees, and should spell out the way the company will serve both its staff and customers, and uphold technical and professional standards. The larger and more complex the manufacturer, the bigger the task.

What this means is not taking short-cuts. Management must openly commit to abiding by the regulations and rules governing the way food is produced, prepared, and marketed. Next they need to build a workforce of well-trained and motivated staff, who are suitably rewarded for their diligence and their commitment to product safety and quality.

DFSV hosted a food safety culture workshop on 30 March 2017. Videos of each of the presentations on the day are now available to view here