Food Safety Culture Guidance

Mar 7, 2019
The definition of Food Safety Culture is...

Shared values, beliefs, and norms affect mindset and behavior toward food safety in, across and throughout an organization. Elements of food safety culture are those elements of the food safety management system that the senior management of a company may use to drive the food safety culture within the company.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Communication about food safety policies and responsibilities
  • Training
  • Employee feedback on food safety-related issues
  • Performance measurement
What does it mean to support food safety culture?

Very simply stated it is team members doing the right things even if someone is not watching. A site with a strong food safety culture has a fully implemented food safety system and addresses concerns or potential issues when they arise.

Employees are empowered and encouraged to do the right things and report events that could impact the food safety of the product. Food safety culture is not achieved by conducting surveys or completing training classes. While those
activities may be a starting place to determine the current level of the culture in a site, they are not the measure that an auditor will use to determine if a good food safety culture exists. That determination will rely heavily on accurate and complete food safety records, interviews with team members at all levels in the organization and observations of employee behavior.

Why is it in the Code & why is it important?

Food Safety Culture was inherently always in the code just not called out specifically in one particular clause. As the definition states it is collectively those activities that create a favorable mindset that drives the behavior of everyone in an organization. Food safety culture would typically be driven from the top starting with senior management and extending through to all employees. This creates the need for it to be a part of the food safety policy statement.

To dive deeper into your food safety culture, available September 2021 in English and Spanish within the SQF Edition 9: Practitioner Training Program: Implementing SQF: Food Safety Culture.

Download the SQF Edition 9 Food Safety Culture Guidance Document.

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