A positive food safety culture starts at the top with leadership. Senior management can influence whether food safety is priority or not. Decisions made at this level with cascade down and across the organisation Prioritising food safety would seem to be a simple choice because it supports other core values such as quality, financial performance and integrity. Although, leadership may imply or consciously condone employees to take shortcuts by ignoring safe food handling practice to reduce costs.
Leadership is ultimately responsible for food safety because this controlling mind inspires and motivates employees to do the right things. They provide essential resources, set and review food safety performance and drive continuous improvement. Leadership must also connect with people at a personal level because food safety is a shared and personal responsibility.
Employee behaviours and practices have the power to make things happen or not. They can choose to do the right things or take short cuts. People should not simply comply with safety food rules for rewards or fear of sanctions. They should believe and commit to food safety because it is the right thing to do.
But leadership is not enough to create and sustain a positive food safety culture. Leadership also requires management to make things happen. Management controls and directs people and resources. It implements policies and procedures and maintains stability. Managers influence frontline employees and must communicate their communicate commitment by through positive food safety behaviours and practices.
Finally, there must be an awareness and desire at all levels for need for continuous improvement. An assessment of the current state will provide an insight into what is happening within an existing food safety culture against established expectations and direction. This can be done by conducting a survey, arranging discussions with frontline employees and auditing.
Contact Percipio Training if you would like to learn more about how to implement and maintain a positive food safety culture. We run regular onsite and open courses in food safety, food allergy awareness and management, auditing and inspection skills. Percipio Training deliver courses in London, Milton Keynes, Corby and across the UK.