After 18 months of work, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has published its new position paper on a food safety culture. How does it contribute to global food safety?
Whether a company manages to ensure the long-term quality and safety of its products depends to a large extent on the corporate culture and the value system within the organization. However, because topics such as corporate culture are difficult to standardize, they remain in the background for current certification systems such as IFS, BRC and FSSC 22000.
The GFSI now wants to remedy the situation with the new position paper. The document, which aims to help leaders and practitioners in the food industry establish and maintain a culture of food safety, deals with three main topics:
- The essential role of executives within an organization in its implementation (a point that also plays a significant role in the revision of ISO 9001: 2015)
- Factors such as communication, education, cooperation and personal responsibility
- Skills such as adaptability or risk awareness to translate food safety practices from theory to practice.
The authors are aware that they are doing a balancing act between laws and standards that clearly regulate food safety and trying to go beyond the concept of culture. Culture works independently of laws and rather instinctively; the tools and checklists provided are an attempt, based on the experiences of the authors’ companies, to convey how a corporate culture can be promoted and adapted to existing food safety initiatives.
The content of the guide is divided into five chapters that correspond to the five dimensions of a food safety culture; Vision & Mission, People, Consistency, Adaptability, and Hazards & Risk Awareness. Each of these chapters provides detailed information on how to achieve a mature and sustainable food safety culture. For this purpose, key questions and supplementary appendices facilitate access and understanding.
The guide has been put together with two premises in mind: first, the content had to be based on existing scientific facts and, second, it needs to present clear practical relevance with a focus on the most critical areas of food safety. In other words, the purpose of the guide is to provide the most necessary and relevant information for developing a food safety corporate culture.
The full report of the GFSI working group titled “A Culture of Food Safety” can be downloaded here: