Food safety is not just a technical problem, it also has a major behavioural component, as the culture of an organisation reflects what employees really think, how they feel, and ultimately how they act. It is therefore an essential component of effective food safety management.
The European Commission recently published a draft revision of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 that now includes food safety culture as a general principle. Recognizing the important role that culture plays in effective food safety management, the new requirements will align regulation with the evolving expectations of consumers and trade partners and drives businesses to commit to culture improvements. The revised regulation is expected to be adopted within the next few months.
The unprecedented circumstances caused by the pandemic are presenting new risks and challenges. Food production, distribution and retail services are facing radical shifts in demand that are placing them under significant strain, while they operate in more restrictive working environments and potential labour shortages. These operational challenges can lead to increased compliance risks across many areas of operations including health & safety, environment, and food safety.
BRCGS was the first organization to include culture requirements in their Standards, a position now adopted by GFSI and likely to be included in the next benchmarking document. However, the lack of a culture plan is also the main non-conformity found in sites. A growing number of companies are also taking a greater interest in cultural performance as they seek additional assurance from their suppliers.
Many organizations are beginning to realize that despite investment in food safety training, system implementation and auditing, something is still missing. This ‘something’ is the assessment of their food safety culture, which until now has been very difficult to measure.
Behaviour-based systems for measuring food safety complement the normal risk-based, system and process checks, as they offer insight into what employees really think and understand about food safety.
Working with Taylor Shannon International (TSI), an industry leader in the field of food safety, management, education and organizational culture, BRCGS have developed BRCGS Food Safety Culture Excellence (FSCE), an assessment of food safety culture, converting what is often a broad or blurry concept into a measurable score and analysis which, if repeated annually, provides a
baseline with which to compare the success of ongoing investments and changes.
BRCGS’ Food Safety Culture Excellence is setting new standards for the food industry. The assessment is a unique solution for the measurement, analysis and improvement of organizational culture.
The FSCE assessment reveals a new set of metrics and will help to measure the return on investment of training and other employee development initiatives.
It’s used by food clients of all types, including manufacturing, retail and food service, around the world to understand and improve their food safety and quality culture.
The BRCGS Food Safety Culture Excellence assessment is based on the following structure:
Culture is perceived as an imprecise concept and very difficult to identify. Because of this, assessing cultural strengths and weaknesses is hard to achieve.
The Food Safety Culture Module offers many benefits for manufacturers, specifiers and the wider industry:
The assessment process starts with the registration of one or more sites. Once registered, the site contact(s) will receive a confirmation email including details of how to launch the assessment, including communications posters, implementation guidelines and response targets. They also receive the link to their assessment. Then the site is ready to go!
Across the company, employees can complete the survey anonymously on computers, tablets or mobile phones. After selecting their preferred language, it takes around 15-20 minutes to complete. The site contact receives weekly progress updates so can see when they reach their minimum response targets; they can then request for the survey to be closed when they are happy with their uptake. Then the data is processed and the report is published.
The assessment generates a lot of valuable data; this data is distilled into a PDF report which is uploaded to the BRCGS Directory after the assessment is complete. The report contains an overall score, plus scoring for 4 Categories and 20 Dimensions. It also provides benchmarking against industry and product category averages, as well as details of low and high scoring questions, and perceived barriers and positives of food safety culture. Sites can quickly identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.
Once the site has received the report and reviewed their scores, they can identify next steps for driving improvement. The PDF report provides general guidance on how to take steps to address cultural improvement. Sites are also invited to join the Culture Excellence LinkedIn Group to view webinars and ask questions of the Culture Excellence team. It is recommended to repeat the assessment yearly to track the improvements achieved.
How to apply?
Download, Read & Share: Implementation Manual, Product Brochure & Sample Assessment Report etc.
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