By Jyoti Bhasin

Building a strong food safety culture is key to successfully achieving food safety in an organization and addressing the evolving risks. It can lead to better consumer protection, reduced financial losses due to food safety issues and a better brand reputation.

Over time, food safety has evolved from being a reactive process to one that emphasizes prevention, making it a vital aspect of doing business. All key stakeholders, including industry members, regulators and consumers must now be informed and involved in food safety matters.

To develop a food safety culture, you must focus on employee behavior and knowledge, organizational policies and procedures and long-term commitment. As an expert in food safety, NSF recommends incorporating the following components in your food safety culture:

  • Leadership Commitment: It’s critical for leaders to understand that managing food safety is only one aspect of food safety leadership. A strong dedication from senior leadership is essential. If employees believe their leaders are fully committed to a cause, they are more likely to unite around it.
  • Integrated Safety Management System: One safety management system is more effective than several. Sharing lessons learned and resources can help to integrate safety into business operations (e.g. by holding safety talks at every meeting). To foster a robust safety culture, make sure the appropriate individuals are present at meetings where safety is discussed and encourage the sharing of safety results at all levels.
  • Engaged employees: Involve employees in decisions about new systems and safety. Make safety a core value, not just a priority. Check employee attitudes and behaviors regularly. Consider both attitude and behavior when evaluating safety knowledge. Be transparent about safety commitments with all stakeholders, including customers and suppliers.
  • Learn from Mistakes: It’s essential to approach mistakes with discipline and reason if you want to learn from them. To identify the underlying problems and core causes, a thorough investigation is required. Remembering that not every failure has a direct connection to safety is crucial.
  • Culture of Trust and Accountability: Holding team members accountable for safety is a necessary step in developing a trustworthy work culture. Encouraging employees to express their worries and difficulties without worrying about the risk of retaliation is crucial. This aids in quickly locating and addressing any possible safety risks.
  • Long-Term Perspective: Staying adaptable to changes driven by innovation, new product development, work practices and current laws can help to ensure success in the long run. Keep an eye out for new opportunities and invest in safety practices that align with your business goals.
  • Invest in Your Team: Offering the right resources and sufficient training to your team is essential the successful application of food safety procedures. As a result, your team will gain a greater understanding of the importance of food safety and how to successfully execute best practices.

Making a thriving food safety culture

About the author:

With a wealth of experience and an outstanding track record in the food sector, Jyoti Bhasin has made substantial contributions to the industry. She has experience in grocery chains in India and currently holds the position of Managing Director for NSF Asia Pacific and Middle East. For more information on NSF services please contact info@nsf.org or visit www.nsf.org.