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World: Food safety culture is needful, finds global survey

Improving food safety culture was stated as the most important training goal ahead of effective employee performance, creating a safe wholesome product and skill development, according to the fourth annual survey of food safety training conducted by Campden BRI and Alchemy in partnership with British Retail Consortium, SGS, Safe Quality Food and TSI.

An improved food safety culture was named as one of the top benefits of effective training. Yet, less than 50% of those surveyed said food safety culture is currently included in their company’s training program.

Only 35% said the level of food safety culture is considered when measuring the value of training.

Even less, just 19%, said food safety culture audits are used to measure sustained positive food safety behaviors.

The results show that 75% of respondents said the responsibility for food safety training either rested with quality control or technical staff.

Only in 8% of cases was HR primarily responsible.

Large numbers of those surveyed are not exploiting specialist resources available in their HR departments.

They could be missing out on fundamental tools used by HR colleagues to identify training needs such as commercial learning management systems.

Instead 70% have to rely on paper-based training records.

Going digital

The use of interactive technology and computer-based eLearning are making slow progress in adoption and are – perhaps surprisingly – still among the least frequently used methods.

On-the-job training came top with over 80% of those surveyed using this method.

There are opportunities for companies to incorporate a greater variety of delivery methods into their training to meet the needs of participants with different learning styles (e.g. pragmatic, reflective or theoretical) and from different generations (e.g. Generation X, Generation C (digital natives).

Global benchmarking tool

The survey provides invaluable information which allows companies to benchmark their food safety training against other food manufacturers and processors from around the world and identify opportunities for development.

The survey was sent to over 25,000 food manufacturing and processing sites worldwide.

The companies surveyed represent a cross section of the industry and ranged in size from under 50 employees to over 1,000 and cover many sectors including beverages, cereal and baking, dairy, retail, and packaging.