Food safety culture is an area of recent development and great interest within the food and beverage industry. Businesses in pursuit of precision emulate one another without necessarily realizing that the existing talent pool impacts and influences the established food safety culture.
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While food safety legislation have evolved with time, so have the food safety management systems. That being said, the overall success of the established food safety culture relies chiefly on the existing work culture as opposed to recently adapted operational changes.
Some of the areas to consider before chalking the path towards food safety culture include communication channels, fluid management, organizational vision, and/or mission, emergency preparedness.
Communication channels. Effective communication is not necessarily black and white; the gray areas don’t often get highlighted. This is where it’s easy for information to slip between the cracks, between the unison of hard sciences and soft skills. The most common approaches to communication channels have either been the top-down or bottom-up flow.
This somewhat limiting path could be improved with more lateral streams of information, such as inter-departmental interactions instead of mere intra-department exchanges. The more we create opportunities to sprout healthy discussions within and around a team, the more solutions we create as a “think tank.”
Fluid management. Is the box relevant if one is asked to think outside of it? Leadership styles are definitely changing and this is indicative of various cultural systems blending. Diverse business models that have been observed by the keen eye of science have proven micromanagement thwarts creativity, which in turn affects overall productivity. As complexities within the food and beverage industry grow with time, talent management and retention are pivotal.
Organizational vision. Branding is not just about how an organization chooses to position itself but also about its overall vision. Managers, associates, and employees need to feel like they’re on the same page. The true value of an organization is not determined by its product but by the longevity of the employees.
Emergency preparedness. Although this might already be addressed in the existing food safety management system, the reason why establishing uniform emergency protocols and procedures across the company is important is because all the associates and employees need to be aware of what the standards are, especially from a PR standpoint. These standards can be communicated through not just trainings, but also via one-on-one and team meetings. For example, an area of discussion could include what the do’s and don’ts are in the event of a natural calamity.
Food safety culture will enhance established food safety management systems if it’s well aligned with the company’s work culture.