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  1. Uncovering the Strategies to Establish Food Safety Culture in Food Service Facilities

    Food safety being a shared responsibility of all supply chain participants in farm to fork continuum, is not always technical but also behavioural. Food service operators share equitable responsibility of ensuring safety of food in the supply chain. Every year, an estimated six hundred million people are sickened by contaminated food. Studies have documented poor management commitment and improper food handling practices as major causes of food safety failures in food service facilities. Food poisoning accusations have cost food service operators loss in consumer base, reputation damage and product liability litigations. Increase in number of food-borne illnesses and outbreaks have emphasized the need for stricter food safety interventions to protect public health. Therefore, the need of the hour necessitates food service leaders to establish food safety organizational culture as a food safety intervention to facilitate production and service of food in safe and sanitary environment and protect customers from food safety hazards. Food safety culture reflects organization's genuine commitment the food safety compliance and noticeable safe food handling behaviors, attitude and practices embedded in employees.


    Model an Upstream Food Safety Cultural Framework


    Well first of all, food service leaders must create an organizational structure that effectively manage organizational resources. Blend organizational vision for food safety compliance, performance benchmarks and key performance indicators to track and accomplish food safety goals. It is important to implement and document food safety management system that outlines the processes, instructions, procedures and reports required to ensure food safety. Food service leaders must develop competency model by determining factors that contribute to food safety failures through efficient root cause analysis, identifying key processes and team members and establishing clearly defined reporting structures. This will help in laying the groundwork for effective food safety leadership and communication. Put emphasis on standardizing processes and procedures (Time temperature requirements, cleaning and sanitation control, allergen control and employee hygiene- to name a few) to eliminate risk of deviations and implement a monitoring system to ensure reduction in possibility of food safety issues. It is worthwhile to invest in continuous improvement activities to achieve optimal levels of proficiency and viability in performance and processes. Emphasize on recruiting food safety focused employees and build their capabilities and competencies by determining training need. Create reward systems that encourage employees to consistently practice safe food handling behaviours. Long-term culture sustainability can only be achieved by evaluating current culture's effectiveness, identifying gaps and taking consistent corrective action.


    Showcase Commitment Based Food Safety Leadership


    Employee's values and opinion on food safety often differ from those of the organization. It is commonly seen that individuals with positional power demonstrate more safety-related behaviors in comparison to individuals down the hierarchical level. Main obstacles in implementing and maintaining food safety culture are casual behavioral approaches, practicing non-standard processes and poor managerial commitment and attitude towards food safety. Food service leaders must demonstrate strong leadership by committing to food safety compliance, allocating resources and communicating food safety expectations clearly throughout the organization. Build leadership at all levels by encouraging managers to oversee food safety processes and reinforce food safety behaviours. Emphasize the importance of being proactive about food safety and getting involved in training, inspections and other food safety related activities. This will help in strengthening employee commitment to food safety. Sanitary design criteria should be considered an essential prerequisite for food safety and integrated into the planning and design process. Sanitary design standards, a strategic consideration of premises and equipment facilitate maintaining hygienic environment that is essential to mitigate food safety risk. Providing sanitary working conditions demonstrate senior management's commitment to food safety culture and can help influence employee behavior and increase commitment to food safety.


    Showcase Leadership Centered Towards Risk-Communication Approach


    Effective communication and engagement is important for survival of food safety culture. It is important to know how concerned employees are about food safety and how aware they are of consequences of food safety failures. Employees must realize their role in food safety and their accountability to food safety failures. Food service leaders must effectively communicate why food safety is important and how food safety is one of the top organizational priorities.


    Employees should be given clarity on work responsibilities, critical control points, food safety policy and conformance standards. They should have complete understanding on risk associated with food products, the possibility of a hazard arising in the event of a loss of control, and the seriousness of the resulting illness or accident in order for them to understand how their poor food handling practices may jeopardize public health safety. Positively influence employee attitude and behavior so that food safety remains at the forefront of their minds and they consider it as their social responsibility. Food safety culture cannot be integrated and ingrained in employees when the sole focus is just to meet minimum applicable statutory and regulatory compliance. It is vital to train employees in risk and hazard specific to their area of work. Developing employees through training and awareness programs on hygiene and sanitation, supply chain risk assessment, preventive measures, food safety, corrective process behaviors and regulatory conformity will drive food safety culture. Food service leaders must shift from competency model to capability model by empowering skills, driving accountability and creating collaborative teams. Empower employees to respond to food safety concerns when there is an occurrence of process deviation.


    Recognizing employees for safe food behaviors and practices is critical for boosting morale, improving engagement and strengthening food safety commitment. Posting posters and signs in the kitchen outlining food safety behaviours and practices is one major intervention to inspire staff and increase attention to food safety. Comprehensive involvement of quality control, purchasing and internal audit teams with food safety-focused responsibilities is principle to long term survival of food safety culture. Employees feel valued and have a sense of acceptance when they are educated, kept informed and recognized, resulting in increased employee engagement. Restaurant audit schemes consider food safety culture a key component in food performance management. Prevalence of an active safe food culture and employee’s knowledge on food safety hazards and practices could easily be evaluated in audits through observations and interviews. To be audit ready at all times, food service facilities must demonstrate success in the context of food safety related activities and strengthen food safety culture as part of continuous improvement.


    The primary aim of establishing a food safety culture is to share common values and belief and eliminate behavior and procedure-based food safety risks. The culture must be integrated within organizational structure as a preventive measure. It should also be noted that implementation, monitoring and enforcement under dedicated leadership is pivotal for culture to grow. Once integrated and maintained, it benefits organization in form of improved governance, increased dedication, better cooperation and consistent compliance with operational processes and standards at all levels and by all team members. In view of legal obligations, food service leaders must strive to leverage behavioural change to improve food safety standards. As a matter of fact, customer may differ in food preferences but the pursuit of safe and wholesome food is universal.


    Author Biography:


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    Dhruv Kishore Bole
    MBA - Hotel Management I CGSP I PCQI I HACCP I ISO 9001:2015 I FSSC 22000 V5 I Lean Six Sigma I cGMP I FPM I Revenue Management I Allergens I OHSMS I FOSTAC - FSSAI


    Dhruv Kishore Bole is a hospitality and food safety specialist with qualifications in hotel management, food safety and quality management system. He has extensive experience spanning over twelve years in operational and training roles. His expertise centers on hospitality operation, food and beverage services and food safety. He has attended numerous workshops and conferences on customer service, leadership and food safety and quality and is certified by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in food safety competencies. He is an empanelled trainer with Hero Mindmine and IL&FS Skills. He is a member of Quality Council of India and an instructor and proctor with ServSafe for India region.

    • Apr 06 2021 06:11 AM
    • by Simon
  2. Webinar - GFSI for the Packaging Supply Chain

    The webinar, GFSI for the Packaging Supply Chain, will focus on technical issues surrounding systems and documentation development, incremental strategies to build required systems with minimal disruption to ongoing business, building a properly scaled implementation team with the required breadth of expertise, and analyzing current systems to focus resources efficiently in building them to meet the requirements of standards – with a focus on IFS PACsecure.


    The presenter, Mr. Lonnie Jaycox, is an independent packaging engineer, consultant and trainer in the implementation of compliance and packaging programs for regulated materials - Hazardous Materials (Dangerous Goods), as well as packaging materials conversion under a variety of regulations, including Food and Food Safety Management Systems, California RPPC and the EU Packaging Directive.


    Jaycox has spent over 20 years working directly with a broad spectrum of packaging customers designing, testing and implementing hundreds of transport packaging programs utilizing a wide variety of packaging materials and design types. His expertise covers managing packaging programs in the areas of effectiveness, optimization in design, ease of implementation, program cost, Quality Systems, regulatory compliance, and transport packaging systems including the implementation of GFSI Food Safety Management Systems for food packaging.


    Mr. Jaycox has been active in industry and related organizations, including: Dangerous Goods Advisory Counsel, COSTHA, ASTM and IoPP and has been trained and tested (NSF) as a HACCP Manager and Internal Auditor.


    Get more information and a discounted registration at the IFS Food group on LinkedIn.




    George Gansner (St. Louis, MO USA)


    About IFS:


    International Featured Standards (IFS) is an umbrella brand for globally recognized standards in Food, Logistics, Cash & Carry/Wholesale, Broker, Packaging Materials (IFS PACsecure) and Household and Personal Care (HPC). IFS provides global uniform quality assurance and food safety standards benchmarked by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). IFS is one of the world’s premier standards organizations in the food and non-food supply chain with more than 16,000 audits conducted globally in 2014. More information about IFS can be found at www.ifs-certification.com. Follow IFS on Twitter: IFS_Food; on LinkedIn.com Group: IFS Food; and on Xing.com Group: IFS Food.

    • Jun 29 2020 06:27 PM
    • by Simon
  3. GFSI Announce Consultation for SQF Scope Extension for Storage and Distribution

    GFSI are inviting stakeholders to comment on the thorough process that SQF, the Benchmark Committee Leader and the Benchmark Committee Members have been involved in over the past months.


    The SQF scope extension benchmarking process consisted of:

    • 2 desktop reviews and corresponding responses from SQF providing the required information.
    • A review of the SQF response by the Benchmark Committee Members.
    The extension of scope Benchmarking Application is open for a consultation until 8th December 2014.


    Download the benchmarking summary report and send any comments on the benchmarking form to Adria Bryan at a.bryan@theconsumergoodsforum.com.


    About SQF:


    The SQF Code is a process and product certification standard. It is a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)-based food safety and quality management system that utilizes the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Food (NACMCF) and the CODEX Alimentarius Commission HACCP principles and guidelines, and is intended to support industry or company branded product and to offer benefits to suppliers and their customers. Certifications under the SQF Code retain a high degree of acceptance in global markets.


    Edition 7 of the SQF Code was redesigned in 2012 for use by all sectors of the food industry from primary production to transport and distribution. It replaced the SQF 2000 Code edition 6 and the SQF 1000 Code edition 5.


    About GFSI:


    The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a business-driven initiative for the continuous improvement of food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide. GFSI was launched in 2000 following a number of food safety crises when consumer confidence was at an all-time low. Its collaborative approach to food safety brings together international food safety experts from the entire food supply chain at technical working group and stakeholder meetings, conferences and regional events to share knowledge and promote a harmonized approach to managing food safety across the industry.

    • Jun 29 2020 06:31 PM
    • by Simon
  4. BRC Extension of GFSI Scope for Storage & Distribution

    The BRC Extension of scope Benchmarking Application is open for a consultation period of 4 weeks starting on 19th June 2014.


    The benchmarking summary report, benchmarking form and details on how to submit your comments can all be found on the GFSI Website.


    ABOUT BRC GLOBAL STANDARDS BRC Global Standards Storage and Distribution Issue 2
    The Standard was first developed in 2006 to ensure that the quality and safety of products produced in accordance with the BRC Production Standards Food, Packaging and Consumer Products was maintained through the supply chain to the Retailer, Food Service Company or further processor. The Standard covers the Storage and Distribution of products with an emphasis on product safety and maintenance of quality and includes a number of voluntary additional modules covering a range of services such as repacking, inspection, tempering, freezing sometimes undertaken at Storage facilities. The Standard currently has over 750 certificated sites in 32 different countries. The Standard is owned by the BRC and written and managed with the input of a multi stakeholder group made up of Storage and Distribution operators, retailers, food service and certification body representatives.


    The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a business-driven initiative for the continuous improvement of food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide. GFSI was launched in 2000 following a number of food safety crises when consumer confidence was at an all-time low. Its collaborative approach to food safety brings together international food safety experts from the entire food supply chain at technical working group and stakeholder meetings, conferences and regional events to share knowledge and promote a harmonized approach to managing food safety across the industry.

    • Jun 29 2020 06:40 PM
    • by Simon
  5. IFS Extension of GFSI Scope for Storage & Distribution

    The IFS Extension of scope Benchmarking Application is open for a consultation period of 4 weeks starting on 17th June 2014.


    The benchmarking summary report, benchmarking form and details on how to submit your comments can all be found on the GFSI Website


    The IFS Logistics Standard aims to audit and certify companies whose activities are logistics oriented for food an non-nood products. The Standard was first released in 2006 and is operating in Version 2.1. Over 850 certificates across 90 countries were issued to the IFS Logistics in 2013.


    IFS Management has 8 regional offices worldwide, coordinates technical working groups in different languages (German, French, North American, Spanish and Italian) with different stakeholders (retailers, industry, certification bodies and food services) and relies on a continuous improvement process on IFS standards, database, Integrity Program, etc.


    The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a business-driven initiative for the continuous improvement of food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide. GFSI was launched in 2000 following a number of food safety crises when consumer confidence was at an all-time low. Its collaborative approach to food safety brings together international food safety experts from the entire food supply chain at technical working group and stakeholder meetings, conferences and regional events to share knowledge and promote a harmonized approach to managing food safety across the industry.

    • Jun 29 2020 06:41 PM
    • by Simon
  6. Food Safety Certification: A Necessary Investment

    Other issues driving U.S. retailers and manufacturers to focus more on food safety is the increasing complexity of the global supply chain and the large number of products that are sourced from high risk areas such as China, India and Latin America.


    Store brands retailers today are keenly focused on food safety, and manufacturer testing and certification. In fact, an industry survey conducted by the Consumer Goods Forum (CIES) in 2007 and again in 2009 found that food safety moved up from the number seven slot to number two in importance among retailers and manufacturers.


    Competition also is spurring retailers to be more proactive. In early 2008, Walmart became the first U.S. grocer to adopt Global Food Safety Initiative (GSFI) standards, requiring private label suppliers and select food products companies to comply with standards above FDA or USDA requirements. GFSI requires food suppliers to achieve factory audit certification against one of its recognized standards, which include International Food Standard (IFS) or an equivalent such as Global-GAP, Safe Quality Food (SQF) or British Retail Consortium (BRC).


    Then, in the summer of 2009 Target notified all of its store brand suppliers that it required them to become GFSI certified by the end of 2010. When market leaders such as Walmart and Target take action, others follow. More and more U.S. retailers –– such as Supervalu, Publix, Food Lion, Loblaws, Wegmans and others –– have committed to GFSI as well.




    While the certification and training process can be somewhat costly and painstaking for both manufacturers and retailers, the good news is that the disciplines yield positive business results, according to a new study conducted by the University of Rostock in Germany. Food processing companies with IFS certification realize dramatic reductions in food recalls, error/defect rates, customer complaints/claims and regulatory issues, according to the research.


    The data is compelling. Respondents experienced up to a:


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    Furthermore, a majority of companies realized sales improvement. In fact, 55 percent saw up to a 10 percent increase in sales; another 14 percent experienced a 10 to 20 percent sales increase.


    Furthermore, a majority of companies realized sales improvement. In fact, 55 percent saw up to a 10 percent increase in sales; another 14 percent experienced a 10 to 20 percent sales increase.




    In total, 62.1 percent of those surveyed consider the IFS Food standard as “good” and “very good” from a process optimization viewpoint. From management standpoint, 37.9 percent considered IFS Food to be “good” and “very good.” A vast majority of respondents reported that they made investments in IFS Food standards when it was introduced. Of the 89 percent of respondents who made financial investments, 70 percent rated their expenditures as “medium,” 14.5 percent as “low,” and 16 percent as “high.”




    Approximately one in five survey participants (22.3 percent) are classified as fruit and vegetable manufacturers and/or processors. Meat producers and processors represented 10 percent of respondents, dried goods 10.9 percent and sweets 10.5 percent. More than one quarter of those surveyed (26.4 percent) are or were also certified under more than one GFSI benchmarked certification. One third still work under a management system certified under ISO 9001, and only 5.4 percent report an established management system under ISO 22000. The environmental management system is managed according to ISO 14001 in 6.3 percent of respondents.


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    Food safety and certification is a business imperative for manufacturers and processors. If the University of Rostock research is not compelling enough, retailers and manufacturers should consider their most important customer — the consumer, whose confidence in the U.S. food supply chain is shaken.


    “Over the past several years, nationwide food safety alerts or recalls involving spinach, beef, peanut butter, chili sauce, tomatoes, peppers, peanut products and pistachios have exposed weaknesses in our food safety net and diminished consumer confidence in the safety and security of the food supply,” the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) wrote in its 2009 white paper on supply chain initiatives to improve food safety titled “Prevention, Partnership and Planning.” The food safety alert and recalls highlight the need to modernize and strengthen the country’s food safety system, according to GMA.
    “Food manufacturers are ultimately responsible for providing consumers with safe products and for ensuring that those products meet all applicable standards. However, accredited third party certification bodies can play a critical role in efforts to continually improve the safety of our food supplies,” GMA wrote.


    Consumer confidence in food safety remains fragile, according to research conducted in 2009 by the Food Marketing Institute. A majority of shoppers (72 percent) said they are “somewhat” confident in the safety of food in U.S. supermarkets versus 11 percent who said they are “very confident.” The report also found that nearly one third (31 percent) of consumers stopped purchasing a food product because of safety concerns.


    Unchanged from 2008, the majority of shoppers (89 percent) trust grocery stores to sell safe food, but have less trust in the government to make sure the food they purchase is safe:


    “The USDA and FDA are entrusted to protect the American public from unsafe food and the accompanying illnesses and death. In recent years, that trust appears to have eroded,” according to the Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota. Food recalls increased 135 percent from 240 to 565 between 2006 and 2008, according to the 2009 Food Industry Report.


    Confirmed laboratory cases of foodborne illnesses reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increased 46 percent between 2000 and 2008, while the number of cases per 100,000 population went up 21 percent from 33 to 40, according to CDC data quoted by the University of Minnesota.


    “A lack of, or decline in, confidence in the safety of food can lead to irrational actions ranging from consumer boycotts of product categories to media scares claiming to be documentaries,” the Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota wrote as part of its food safety and defense tracking project. “It can lead to social causes around food, political pressure for more food inspection and government monitoring, trade restrictions, or a demand for local foods.”


    While increased government regulation and inspection may help improve food safety, the best course of action for the food industry is self-monitoring and vigilance.


    Food processing companies should consider all of their certification options to ensure they’re choosing what’s right for their organizations. Though third-party certification is not a one-stop shop for the elimination of food safety challenges, the IFS Standard provides a strong basis for prevention and continuous improvement.


    The results of the University of Rostock study confirm significant cost savings on many levels through the implementation of the IFS Food Safety and Quality Standard.


    Author Biography:


    IFS is an umbrella brand for globally recognized standards in food, logistics, household and personal care, broker, and cash-andcarry/wholesale developed by the associated members of the German retail federation, hauptverband des Deutschen einzelhandels (hDe), and of its French counterpart, Fédération des entreprises du Commerce et de la Distribution (FCD), along with input from retailers in italy, Switzerland, poland, Spain, and austria. IFS Food is a global uniform quality assurance and food safety standard accepted under the Global Food Safety initiative (GFSI).


    For more information see: www.ifs-certification.com


    Contact: George Gansner, IFS north america at 314-686-4610 or by emailing: ifs-us@ifs-certification.com.

  7. Implementing a Food Safety Management System

    In order to set up an effective food safety management system the activities of key functions should be integrated into the system. Senior management should communicate policies and responsibilities including authority levels. It should be clear to all personnel that each and everyone is responsible for food safety. Food safety management responsibility should not simply be delegated to technical personnel.


    Having a comprehensive HACCP system and having carried out hazard analysis and assessment is fundamental to the food safety management system. One of the first steps for an organisation implementing a Food Safety Management System will be to consider what are their customer requirements and what will need to be done to meet those requirements. Most customers will require a food safety management system to be certified to a recognised standard. These could include BRC, SQF, ISO 22000 or FSSC 22000, all of which are approved by the GFSI scheme.


    Decide which food safety management system standard meets your customer requirements and buy a copy. This standard should be read and understood by key personnel. You should begin the entire food safety management system implementation process by the senior management preparing an organisational strategy. In this process food safety policies and objectives should be generated as responsibility for a food safety management system lies with senior management. At this stage the resource including personnel, infrastructure, training and work environment needed to implement, maintain and improve the food safety management system should be considered and provided.


    The food safety management system documentation should be developed based on a study by your HACCP team. The HACCP team should be multidisciplinary and all functions of the business should be represented. The HACCP team should be suitably competent and are tasked with generating HACCP plans and associated documents, procedures and records that ensure the safe manufacture of your products.


    The next step to implementing your food safety management system is communication and training. During the implementation phase all personnel should be trained, follow procedures and complete records that demonstrate the effectiveness of your food safety management system. Once your food safety management system is implemented, verification activities should be undertaken to demonstrate it is working effectively.


    Once you have done that and found the system to be operating effectively you should arrange your assessment with your chosen certification body. At this point the certification body will conduct an audit and review your food safety management system and determine whether you should be recommended for registration. Once you have been approved you will receive a certificate confirming your food safety management system meets the requirements of your chosen food safety standard.


    Author Biography:


    With over 25 years experience in Quality Management, Tony became a qualified Quality Management System Auditor in 1994 and has been writing ISO 9001 compliant Quality Manuals and extensive Food Safety HACCP Manuals and Systems for 20 years.


    Tony has a wealth of management experience and practical use of Quality Management Systems in the food industry. His management roles have included, Laboratory Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Production Manager, Technical and Processing Manager, Technical Manager, Technical and Development Manager and Group Technical Manager. He therefore has a broad knowledge of departments that operate within a company which is highly valuable when documenting policies and procedures relating to those activities. Not only this but practical knowledge of how to implement systems means that better understanding of company requirements is passed on to each and every employee.


    Tony has written an extensive range of Food Safety Manuals that meet the requirements of GFSI standards such as BRC, SQF, IFS, FSSC 22000 and ISO 22000:


    IFSQN Food Safety Certification Packages

    • Jun 29 2020 06:51 PM
    • by Tony-C