Creating A Food Safety Culture


Changing the culture of an organization is never easy regardless of its size. From 10 person outfits to those with thousands of employees spanning the globe, change is never easy. When it comes to changing hearts and minds as it relates to food safety the task isn’t any easier but the level of urgency to do so is.

Changes created by the Food Safety Modernization Act and Global Food Safety Initiative have created a sense of urgency and food processors are rapidly mobilizing their efforts to establish a culture where food safety is front and center.

In the book Food Safety Culture: Creating A Behavior Based Food Safety Management System author Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety & health for Walmart and an adjunct professor in the food safety program at Michigan State University, was quoted as saying, “If you’re trying to improve the food safety performance of an organization, industry, or region of the world, what you’re really trying to do is change peoples’ behaviors. Simply put, food safety equals behavior.”

How do you get employees from the executive suite to the production line to buy into a culture that emphasizes detailed documentation, strong sanitation protocols and establishing a good working relationship with third party vendors such as pest management companies?

The best way to secure buy-in and engage co-workers is to include them early in the development process. Managers must be prepared to say, “I don’t know the answer to that question” or “We need your expertise and know-how to help develop a strategy.”

Getting employees involved early provides an opportunity to tap into your organization’s brain power and experience.

For example, who better understands the threat that moisture and food debris build-up poses in attracting pests than a production line foreman. And who better than the facility’s equipment maintenance foreman to explain how best to access hard-to-reach areas of the equipment to perform a deep cleaning and eliminate the build-up and pest threat.

The Sprague Pest Experts offer the following tips to creating a food safety culture in your operation

  1. Management Must Take The Lead – Establish procedures and protocols and have everyone from top to bottom follow them.
  2. Accountability – Explain the potential negative consequences to the company and consumers if a culture isn’t established and followed. 
  3. Training, Training, Training – Provide training on new protocols and schedule regular reviews of established procedures to keep them top of mind with employees; don’t assume everyone will remember or understand the message after a single meeting.
  4. Bolster Your Message – Hold regular training sessions and emphasizing that a food safety culture actually protects employees families, friends and neighbors from harmful food-borne illnesses.
  5. Focus On Changing Behavior – Don’t focus solely on the process; make sure the emphasis is on the people and making sure they understand why food safety is important and how it is done.

The Sprague Pest Experts have decades of experience in training employees on food safety. Tap into our expertise and let us help you create and implement food safety training in your facility.

Agriculture, Food Processing & Manufacturing, Food Retail & Grocery, Restaurants