Measuring the Impact of Company Culture on Food Safety

April 19, 2017


Documented food safety processes and procedures are an important component of any food safety management system but it is the daily actions of employees which determine overall food safety performance.

As anyone working in the food safety industry can attest, safety culture is a multi-layered, complex and ever-changing beast and translating the theory into practice can be fraught with difficulties. 

The everyday actions and general behaviour of staff dramatically impact a company's food safety culture and performance. Actions and behaviours within a company are influenced by unspoken rules, and accepted (rather than documented) practices, values and priorities. While these aspects are largely non-visible, they have a tremendous impact on an organisation's ability to meet strategic goals and without a well-planned vision of what food safety culture looks like organisations are at risk of damaging their brand. 

Aiming to bridge the gap between culture and food safety audit success, BRC Global Standards partnered with Taylor Shannon International (TSI), industry leaders in food safety, management, education and organisational culture. Together they developed the Food Safety Culture Excellence Module to assist companies measure the divide between their documented procedures and real-life practice.

The module is a questionnaire-based assessment tool designed to provide a simple, cost-effective measure for manufacturers to assess food safety culture across all their sites. 

SAI Global, the leading certification body for the Food Safety Culture Excellence Module, is guiding more organisations through the assessment process than any other certification body in the world. Organisations certified with SAI Global to BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 7 are now being offered this additional module. 

"A strong food safety culture has been sought by food manufacturers around the world for a number of years now, and it continues to be discussed and debated at board level. Adding the Food Safety Culture Excellence Module to any BRC Food Safety audit provides a clear demonstration of a company’s intention, to not only measure the culture throughout the organisation, but to recognize the feedback from their staff and focus on continual improvement moving forward."

David Brackston

Technical Director, BRC Global Standards

The module can be delivered as a standalone measure or at the same time as a company's annual certification audit and involves the analysis of collating questionnaire results from both employees and the external auditor. These results are compiled into an Assessment Report that provides an overview of their performance across four categories: people, process, purpose and proactivity. 

"The Food Safety Culture Excellence Module provides companies with the potential for a deeper understanding of workforce engagement in respect to food safety imperatives, greater operational insights and assists with identification of targeted training programmes to embed food safety in their work every day. This unique new way of measuring food safety compliments the certification work we do to help our customers meet the standards and gives a more in-depth understanding of the site and its staff."

Kimberly Carey Coffin

Head of Food, Retail and Hospitality, SAI Global


Download Our Whitepaper 

For more information on why Food Safety Culture is so important and for tips on how to improve it, download Dr Bob Strong's whitepaper 'Tips on building and measuring Food Safety Culture.'




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