3. Hazard and Risk Awareness
The company needs to be aware of all relevant hazards and
risks that might have a food safety impact on its business and
communicate this to its staff in an effective manner, with regular updates. Consider applying some of the techniques used
by the H&S team.
4. Communications and Messaging
Good communication ensures that a company’s food safety strategy and expectations are received consistently and understood by all employees within the organization. The goal
is to educate, inform, and raise awareness among all new and
existing employees of safe practices so they assume ownership
of their role in ensuring consumer safety and brand protection.
It must occur regularly, be tailored to the organization’s
various audiences, accessible wherever the desired behavior
should occur, and measured for effectiveness (e.g., via online
surveys and employee focus groups).
Examples of available food safety communication channels
include posters, meetings, briefings, videos, phone calls, conferences, huddles, digital coaching, mentoring, feedback/sug-gestion processes, company intranet and message boards, corporate website, competitions, buddy program, gemba kaizen
circle meetings, awards and recognitions, and consequences,
including disciplinary actions up to termination.
Consider leveraging the functional expertise of industry experts and your colleagues in marketing to help to segment the
workforce and develop targeted food safety messaging, taking
into account deep culture, generations, job type, etc. Fonterra,
a large dairy cooperative in New Zealand, has been using this
approach of “internal customers profiling” to great effect, as
highlighted by Joanna Gilbert of Fonterra at a Campden BRI/
TSI Culture Excellence webinar in October 2016.
When a supervisor can have a two-way conversation with
an employee, bad habits, poor training, and misinformation
can be identified and corrected.
5. Simple Procedures
The tasks to perform and the SOPs to follow should be as
simple and easy as possible, and the amount of effort and time
required to execute them should be optimized. For example,
forms to complete should not be too long and complex. Consider use of pictures rather than text for instructions or specifications.
6. Decision Making
Consider creating an independent escalation path that
allows the food safety team to report directly to senior leadership rather than senior operations staff, so that food safety is
not compromised when the production and/or commercial
teams are under pressure and “cutting corners” is on the table
and in conflict with business objectives.
The key performance indicators used across the business
should not drive the wrong behavior that might compromise
8. Tools and Equipment
Employees need to have fit-for-use/fit-for-purpose clothing
and equipment, and work in fit-for-purpose premises/buildings.
Have we provided each employee with the appropriate
environment to achieve success? For example, one company
had an employee in receiving who was inaccurately assessing
produce condition. Only after a discussion and evaluation
was it discovered that the employee was color-blind and
physically unable to distinguish red from green produce. Another employee’s job was to empty ingredients into a hopper
without touching the edge of the hopper with the ingredient
box exterior. Her supervisor observed the employee routinely
leaning the ingredient box onto the hopper and would write
up the employee for the behavior deficiency. Finally, after
some discussion with the employee, the supervisor realized
the ingredient boxes were too heavy for the employee to consistently meet this food safety procedure, and the process was
reengineered. Companies intent on enhancing their food safety culture understand the value in actively soliciting routine
employee feedback to ensure the employees have the ability
and the tools necessary to execute the appropriate food safety
The company needs to commit to a decision-making process related to budget, capital expenditure, and investment
that does not compromise food safety, thus ensuring the right
level of resources and fit-for-purpose/use of equipment.
The company needs to ensure that employees have enough
time to do their task properly and are not forced to take shortcuts to keep up.
Employees should understand that they are accountable and
responsible for ensuring food is safe; they should know the risks
and the right thing to do as a matter of course at all times. They
should not be able to get away with unacceptable behaviors.
Hazard & Risk
Training Expectations Reinforcement
Equipment Measures Decision Making Time
Figure 2. The Antecedent Toolbox