Staff training is a priority for having a strong food safety culture

The food safety culture companies are the shared values, beliefs and norms of a team that compel its members, regardless of their role or responsibility, to think and act in their daily work to ensure that the food produced there is safe for the consumer.

He human capital food companies is a key component of any food safety culture. Behaviors and activities, from agricultural processes to kitchen practices, as well as habits before consuming food, contribute to food safety and potentially increase or decrease the risk of foodborne illness.

Although culture is recognized as a significant role in the success or failure of organizations, it has not been communicated in the same way as other established food industry standards. This requires input from practitioners to explain how to bring dimension to food safety culture.

A tool for improving culture

Improving the culture of food safety is the goal of training in food companies. In its simplest form, training is a planned activity that leads to skilled behavior, whether it takes place in the classroom or on the job.

To achieve this in terms of food safety, staff must receive:

  • Knowledge
  • Guidelines to ensure that behaviors are maintained in practice
  • To promote the right attitudes about what they are learning

Since culture is a learned set of attitudes, values, and practices shared by employees, it stands to reason that effective trainingand plays a role in shaping, maintaining and improving culture.

However, in order to improve culture, training must be designed with an awareness of all cultural issues within the company and a focus on what the training aims to achieve and how. The effect of the training should be measured, and its design and implementation should be constantly improved.

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Culture is organizational, it is the way each person does things and transmits it to others. Photo: Freepik

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Training for food company staff

Human capital training is essential to guarantee food safety in a food company. Employees must understand the risks associated with food safety and know how prevent food contamination.

In this sense, training must be continuous and adapted to different roles and responsibilities within the organization. Workers who come into direct contact with food must be trained on:

  • Personal Hygiene
  • Food handling
  • Cleaning and disinfection of kitchen surfaces and equipment

Office workers should also be trained to understand how their tasks also affect food safety. It is therefore a priority that they know the requirements of food regulations and organizational policies focused on food safety. Their priority is to know how to recognize potential risks and immediately report any problem with food safety.

Employee capacity

According to a study by GFSI’s Global Food Security Initiative, commitment to development employee competencies in relation to food safety will affect both the organization and the ability of employees to adapt to changes.

Such development initiatives should encompass specific and technical capabilities related to food safety, including the development of leadership and management skills, such as negotiation and influence, communication, problem solving and change implementation.

It is also important to monitor how employee development affects individual performance and behavior. An organization that successfully adapts to change is characterized by empowered employees capable of taking on challenging new responsibilities.

Education and training are key tools. It is vital to determine how well employees will understand and trust the training and education they will receive. Only with full understanding and trust will they be able to implement food safety behaviors and influence others in the same way.

Safety culture is organizational

If business owners do not focus on creating a culture of safety, operators will not be able to understand the importance and it will affect the way they do their normal work. So, culture is organizational, it is the way each person does things and transmits it to others.

Among some of the practice that can be done to maintain a culture of safety are:

  1. Maintain a multidisciplinary team that promote a culture of safety, where they are focused on producing safe food for consumption, implementing good practices.
  2. Ensure customer focus. Everyone needs to think and analyze what they are doing to know how to ensure that consumers have safe food.
  3. Encourage communication. By maintaining good communication between everyone, food safety can be achieved.
  4. Take measurements and use various indicators to assess whether the safety culture is being implemented.
  5. Constantly involve staffso that we know what needs to be improved, either in processes or behavior.
  6. Provide training and strengthen food security. It’s not just talking to operators about concepts for hours, it’s explaining to them why things exist, showing them the big impacts they can have if they don’t implement a good safety culture.
  7. Maintain for the long term and commit to it improve food safety making safety culture a core value within the organization.
Training must be continuous and adapted to different roles and responsibilities within the organization. Photo: Freepik

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