Jim Dudlicek, NGA Director of Communications and External Affairs
A food safety program is only as good as your organization’s commitment to food safety culture. How do you assess your food safety culture? How do you change it? Why is food safety culture so critical to your food safety program?
The National Grocers Association hosted a recent webinar to explore the practical aspects of food safety culture and the steps independent grocers can take to assess and improve the culture in their business.
Leading the discussion on how to demystify food safety culture and make it practical and achievable for independent grocers were Jill Hollingsworth, Ecolab’s VP of food safety and retail industry relations, and Natalie Seymour, the company’s food safety and audit development manager.
Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:
An effective, positive food safety culture must permeate a whole company. You must understand how your employees think about food safety, the food safety behaviors they routinely practice and their willingness to openly discuss concerns and act on it. Have conversations on all levels of management and throughout the company. Lead from the top with commitment to resources and investment. Engage store associates and encourage them to take ownership.
A strong culture allows the right food safety behaviors to be sustained over time, reducing the risk of controllable food safety outbreaks.
Food safety is about people. Five risk factors that contribute to foodborne illness are tied to human behavior, driving a shift from a traditional to behavior-based food safety program that focuses on processes and people and is based on food science, behavior science and organizational culture.
Get buy-in from key players outside the food safety team, including operations, training, quality assurance and procurement. Align food safety culture with other company goals and values.
For more information about the Ecolab Food Safety Culture Assessment, visit www.foodsafetyculture.com or contact Natalie Seymour at: Natalie.firstname.lastname@example.org. For resources and tools to help advance food safety in your operations, including thought leadership articles and digital training, visit the NGA Food Safety Program, in partnership with Ecolab, at https://www.nationalgrocers.org/m/food-safety/.
For more exclusive insights on food safety culture, view a recording of this webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2009169905175243784.