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Cultura de segurança alimentar

Cultura de segurança alimentar

Implementing a quality system within ones company is taking time and efforts. However, implementing a quality system might not be enough to ensure the safety of the food products.

In its position paper entitled “A culture of Food Safety”, the GFSI defines (based on a derived one from existing literature on organizational and food safety culture) food safety culture as, “shared values, beliefs and norms that affect mindset and behaviour toward food safety in, across and throughout an organization.”.

Characteristics of a mature culture

Food safety is a shared responsibility and all employees have a role to play in its effective implementation and maintenance. Employees, regardless of their position within the company, need to understand the impact their actions can have on food safety.

A strong culture of food safety contributes to prevent and catch deviations in processes that could impact the safety, quality, and regulatory compliance of the products.

In order to reach a mature culture among employees, they organization

A mature culture within an organization is expressed by the fact it:

  • is supported by the entire organization,
  • is clear to everyone and regularly discussed,
  • will be adjusted/improved when needed,
  • is a culture where issues can be addressed,
  • is supported by knowledge about the food safety threats / risks,
  • is concrete and connected to daily work.

Food Safety Culture can be defined as the food safety behaviours, attitudes, norms and beliefs shared by a group of people. These elements determine the solidity of a company’s food safety management.

Testing and improving cultural aspects in food safety awareness

If the awareness of food-safe production is widely supported within your organization, the chance of a food safety incident / risk with your product will be lower. The possibility for employees to report matters safely, positive leadership and management’s exemplary role are important factors that contribute to improving the company’s FSC (Food Safety Culture).

The more the employees feel involved in the organization, and based on intrinsic motivations, the more they will put their best foot forward to guarantee food safety and quality. The outcome of having employees more involved and with a better understanding of the impact of their actions will provide an advantage for the entire organization.

Regulation and goal of the Food Safety Culture

Regulation

In September 2020, the Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted a revision of its global standard on General Principles of Food Hygiene (CXC 1-1969). The revised CXC 1-1969 introduces the ‘food safety culture’ concept as a general principle. Food safety culture enhances food safety by increasing the awareness and improving behaviour of employees in food establishments. Such impact on food safety has been demonstrated in several scientific publications.

Considering the revision of the global standard and the expectations of consumers and trade partners that food produced in the EU complies at least with such global standard, in march 2021 the Commision Regulation published the COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2021/382 of 3 March 2021 amending the Annexes to Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the hygiene of foodstuffs as regards food allergen management, redistribution of food and food safety culture. According to this new amendment in the Annex II, this ‘CHAPTER XIa was inserted:

Food Safety Culture

  1. Food business operators shall establish, maintain and provide evidence of an appropriate food safety culture by fulfilling the following requirements:
  2. commitment of the management, in accordance with point 2, and all employees to the safe production and distribution of food;
  3. leadership towards the production of safe food and to engage all employees in food safety practices;
  4. awareness of food safety hazards and of the importance of food safety and hygiene by all employees in the business;
  5. open and clear communication between all employees in the business, within an activity and between consecutive activities, including communication of deviations and expectations;
  6. availability of sufficient resources to ensure the safe and hygienic handling of food.

2. Management commitment shall include:

  1. ensuring that roles and responsibilities are clearly communicated within each activity of the food business;
  2. maintaining the integrity of the food hygiene system when changes are planned and implemented;
  3. verifying that controls are being performed timely and efficiently and documentation is up to date;
  4. ensuring that the appropriate training and supervision are in place for personnel;
  5. ensuring compliance with relevant regulatory requirements;
  6. encouraging continual improvement of the food safety management system of the business, where appropriate, taking into account developments in science, technology and best practices.

3.The implementation of the food safety culture shall take account of the nature and size of the food business.’

In BRC Global Standard Food Safety Issue 8, Food Safety Culture is clearly mentioned under the Senior Management Clause. GFSI, IFS Food v7 and BRC Issue 8 recognize the establishment of a food safety culture will play a vital role ensuring that all employees adhere to the correct behaviours at all times.

To ensure this, each employee needs to be trained suitably and know what is expected of them. They need to understand what is considered to be the right thing to do, the correct manner in which to do things, as well as the implications of not doing the right thing.

Goal of the Food Safety Culture

The goal of Food Safety Culture is to improve employee awareness and their behaviour in food production plants. In the update, a clear definition of responsibilities is required, along with documentation update, controls compliance, in terms of timing and effectiveness, training and supervision of personnel. This is because culture plays a fundamental role in the management of food safety and these new indications will ensure that the regulations are aligned with the growing expectations of consumers, leading companies to improve.

How Mérieux NutriSciences can support you

Mérieux NutriSciences guides companies in finding the perfect mix between corporate identity, associated standards and values and the supporting policy.

As part of its commitment, Mérieux NutriSciences provides tailor-suited solutions and support to any food organization as its implementation / revision is unique to all. Therefore, you can require from us:

  • Defining policy and culture
  • Training (middle) management and operations
  • Internal audits
  • Mystery guest visits
  • Reporting system development
  • Awareness development (such as posters, instructional videos, etc.)
  • Integration system with other aspects (such as quality, occupational safety, environment and more)
  • Drawing up action plans to improve Food Safety Culture

A code of desired behaviour is drawn up in consultation with key officials. Implementation of the code of conduct is supported by awareness training. Measuring employee engagement takes place on the basis of interviews and surveys to determine whether people know, can, want and do the right things. Where necessary, specific actions are initiated to strengthen weaknesses.


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