Creating a culture of Food Safety is paramount to the longevity of a successful Food Safety Program. We have gathered 3 helpful tips on how to create a culture of Food Safety based on our discussion with Jeff Mitchell, IFCO’s North American Director of Food Safety.
Start from the top down- If employees see that management isn't entirely on board, then they won't be either. As Jeff Mitchell states, “ From management on down, everyone has to truly believe food safety is important for the right reasons.”
Understand the consequences of bad Food Safety culture- Mitchell cautions, “if you don’t have a strong food safety culture, people take shortcuts.” He gives the following example, “Say you have two people from the production line going to the bathroom at the same time and one of them doesn’t wash his hands before coming back on the line, and the other person doesn’t say anything. That’s bad culture. Good culture is the person stopping the coworker and saying, ‘Hey, you have to wash your hands, you are going to be handling food products.’ The reason for food safety culture is so that you don’t take shortcuts.”
Fully engage people by effectively communicating problems AND successes. Ultimately, the food safety plan, no matter how well it is crafted, will not succeed if the operation does fully engage the people involved. Good communication can help with this and includes two crucial components. One is the communication of the problems. The other essential element is the communication of successes and process improvements. Mitchell states, "When you see something working in one facility, and you have a network of facilities, the improvement should be shared to all facilities.”
In closing, a culture of Food Safety must be reinforced daily. It cannot be set then forgotten. To learn more about ways to improve your Food Safety Program, download your copy of the ‘6 Best Practices to Create a Successful Food Safety Program’ eBook today.