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How to change the food safety culture of employees?

food safety culture

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#1 wafa2019

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 08:18 AM

Hello;

 

I just started a job in quality departement; and I have a problem with the employees and also the responsibles themselves , people here don't understand the importance of food safety or they just don't care for exemple whenever i ask them to do simple things the response is always : "oh is there an audit? or is a client coming?" so here they only do follow rules if someone is coming!

And i don't realy know how to make them understand the importance of all of these in food industry ? :shutup:  :shutup:  :shutup:

 

Please some advices 

thanks in advance



#2 SQFnerd

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 12:57 PM

I feel like this is pretty common. 

Some things I've found that help when investigating this issue, is to review the training that the employees have been previously given. Is it dry and boring? Does it explain why we have our GMPs in place? Does it give real world examples of these reasons for policy? Sometimes people need to see things broken down a little differently in order for it to sink in. 

Another thing to look at is whether or not management is "living" the food safety culture. Do they lead by example, or are they also going through the motions? If employees are surrounded by people who are excited about food safety, they may become more involved in it.

Looking at employee morale in general is also a good place to investigate. Low morale in employees will usually result in a poor food safety culture, which makes sense, right? 

Revising the training and refreshing with new immersive and interactive training couldn't hurt.

 

This is just my experience, so I thought I'd share it. 

There are several webinars in the IFSQN Webinars dropdown menu that tackle Food Safety Culture, and I've found them super helpful in the past.

 

Good luck!



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#3 wafa2019

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 06:42 PM

First of all thank you for your response.

 

 Well I found that there was no training at all! People here just don't care! 

And as you said management! They don't lead by example; they don't understand food safety culture.

So I need to start with management first and than work on training the employees

 

Thanks again



#4 SQFconsultant

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 03:40 AM

One of the greatest turn-arounds I saw from employees and even managers that were not doing anything more than towing the line was when a new QA took over and we got to work with each other. He immediately trained groups of the employees and managers on Internal Auditing - in groups they were released into the facility, each group had a zone - this went on and on every week... it heightened everything, food safety, safety in general, training, maintenance - Trained Internal Auditors are special people - train them all and watch food safety come to the forefront with all the managers and line-employees.  It works!


Warm regards,

 

 

Glenn Oster

 

 

Glenn Oster Consulting, LLC / 800.793.7042 / USA, Centro & South America

SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants

Food & Food Storage/Logistics // eConsultant // Internal Auditor Training

www.GlennOsterConsulting.com

 

 

Mobile Internal Auditor Training
 
Mattithyahu (Matthew) Cepher --
7:6 "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."

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#5 A Food Professional

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 06:51 AM

Dear Wafa

 

I have an opinion that we humans care the things more when they are in tangible form. For e.g. asking someone 'doing good job' may mean nothing rather than setting a limit of 'Not more than 2 quality complaints per production line per week' and the target as 'one' initially, and then narrow it down further gradually. Also take a 5-minutes' quick talk with the line team and show them the last weeks' trend in comparison to the other lines. Graphical representation would help. This will not only make the 'working quality' more visible but will also induce a positive competition among various sub groups. 

 

There could be various other things. I have tried myself and found most of them fruitful in bringing a transition.

 

Hope it helps. Feel free to ask should you need further insight.

 

Wassalam.



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#6 The Food Scientist

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 02:05 PM

The current company I work in had the same issue when I first got hired, which was back in feb. 

 

They were careless in terms of food safety and even quality. I looked into training, if ever done, I saw none. I interviewed them and asked them have you ever been trained on this? They would say no (the company was recently SQF certified).  I asked the production manager he said nobody not even me was really trained on such things. They had a QA manager before me. So I asked about how this manager was. They said she would walk around with a stank face and barely say good morning and just yell at them if for example someone did not wear a hairnet. Were they trained on the importance of wearing a hairnet? No. They were just complying based out of fear. Hostility. And that is wrong IMO.

 

-I informed them now our company is growing, SQF and we will have many federal inspections where the inspector will interview them and ask them questions. And it is a company-wide responsibility, not only senior management.

- I conducted trainings for them throughout the day and offered lunch, coffee and desserts.

- Had the key people trained on HACCP basics.

- Always walk in with a smile, a good morning and show them you are not micromanaging them. You are just as responsible as they are when it comes to food safety. 

- Post funny memes, jokes and phrases about food safety throughout the company walls. Of course including our Food Safety Policy statement.

- Whenever you catch them in non-compliance with something, EXPLAIN TO THEM WHY IT'S WRONG AND NOT ONLY SAY IT'S WRONG AND WALK AWAY.

 

I did those and I can say I am really proud of how our culture has improved! It's not an easy process but you will get there!


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


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#7 wafa2019

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 07:23 PM

Thank you so much all of you for your help and time.

 

I will try to change things here; I will make this my personal project.

I will train the employees in groups and try to explain the importance of food safety and why we do what we must do

and for me i always walk with i smile and respect the employees so my relationship with them will help me with the training

 

thank you all 



#8 A Food Professional

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 01:26 AM

You'r welcome. Sure you would have customized need but happy to share with you the layouts of basic understanding of KPIs presentation if you want.

 

Happy New Year to everyone. 

 

Salam.



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#9 BuckeyeGal

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 07:24 PM

If there is a history of letting things slide until audit time that can be a hard habit to break.  You need all levels to have buy in to the quality and safety programs. It can be rewarding for people to be graded against a standard with a lot of "great work everyone" up front.  Eventually, they will realize that doing the right thing is in their best interest and that will keep them doing it.



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#10 ebb30

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 08:06 PM

I can definitely relate to this! Here are some things I've done that really seemed to work at my last job:

 

-training in small groups. I tried to use as many visuals as possible even though I had translators for the different languages. I would swab things like cell phones or "clean areas" that were actually dirty (cardboard on the floor that they pretended was a clean table for buckets, then would touch the bottom of buckets as they emptied the contents and said they didn't need to change their gloves). I also purchased a flurescing lotion (glowgel) and a UV flashlight, had them put the lotion on their hands then put on gloves. The UV light will show where hey touched the gloves to illustrate why having clean hands is necessary when putting on gloves. I then asked them to go wash their hands and shined the UV light on their clean hands. Many were still fluorescing and I used this as a way to show why washing hands thoroughly was important. People would usually grumble as I made them use the lotion, but once the UV light was out they were eagerly comparing their hands lol.

 

-I also read this book: https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/1493924885 Some of the examples are a little out there, but for the most part it got me thinking about different ways to do the training to really sink in. Like giving real world examples of recalls or illnesses of products similar to yours, or an actual recall from your own company's history, etc. 

 

-I was lucky to have management buy-in (mostly) so I walked around with the manager and wrote up people if it was their second offence after training. This was by no means fun, but I wanted them to know that I was serious and that their manager is on the same page as me. Catching people with jewelry was the main issue. 

 

-I also asked the production manager to let me work somewhere on the line for an hour per day/week as my time allowed. It allowed me to get to know people on the floor, and to really see the challenges people deal with and learn the process better than just looking at it. I noticed for example that I can ask employees to change their gloves frequently all day long, but if gloves are very far from them and they can't easily leave a running line, then they won't. We ended up having maintenance build 10 new glove dispenser holders that were mobile so we could arrange them around the lines as needed. People had very easy access to them and were now changing their gloves much more frequently. 

 

 

Hope these are helpful, good luck! 

-I also read this book: https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/1493924885 Some of the examples are a little out there, but for the most part it got me thinking about different ways to do the training to really sink in. Like giving real world examples of recalls or illnesses of products similar to yours, or an actual recall from your own company's history, etc. 



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#11 wafa2019

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 07:12 PM

You'r welcome. Sure you would have customized need but happy to share with you the layouts of basic understanding of KPIs presentation if you want.

 

Happy New Year to everyone. 

 

Salam.

salam;

 

yes i would love to

thank you so much



#12 Jeffrey Ort

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 07:23 PM

This is the hardest of tasks relating to the job of QA!

The first line is to lead by example and get the people above you to understand that this will reduce possible issues and related costs in the future - what is the true cost of a recall, business integrity, loss of brand acceptance and confidence?

Everyone should be given training and the reasons and the understanding of "why is it important to follow, or do, XXXX?'

Again back to the cost of recalls, will that line worker, manager, technician CSR, have a job if the company is not able to rebound from a recall?

Scare the ones above you, get the people that work with you and that you are responsible for to understand it is a team effort and you need to be ready 24/7 365.

 

Most of all - make the training fun and interactive - make them ask questions that include why, and be prepared with relateable answers that may not be technical answers but real life examples of similar issues. 



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#13 wafa2019

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 07:24 PM

I can definitely relate to this! Here are some things I've done that really seemed to work at my last job:

 

-training in small groups. I tried to use as many visuals as possible even though I had translators for the different languages. I would swab things like cell phones or "clean areas" that were actually dirty (cardboard on the floor that they pretended was a clean table for buckets, then would touch the bottom of buckets as they emptied the contents and said they didn't need to change their gloves). I also purchased a flurescing lotion (glowgel) and a UV flashlight, had them put the lotion on their hands then put on gloves. The UV light will show where hey touched the gloves to illustrate why having clean hands is necessary when putting on gloves. I then asked them to go wash their hands and shined the UV light on their clean hands. Many were still fluorescing and I used this as a way to show why washing hands thoroughly was important. People would usually grumble as I made them use the lotion, but once the UV light was out they were eagerly comparing their hands lol.

 

-I also read this book: https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/1493924885 Some of the examples are a little out there, but for the most part it got me thinking about different ways to do the training to really sink in. Like giving real world examples of recalls or illnesses of products similar to yours, or an actual recall from your own company's history, etc. 

 

-I was lucky to have management buy-in (mostly) so I walked around with the manager and wrote up people if it was their second offence after training. This was by no means fun, but I wanted them to know that I was serious and that their manager is on the same page as me. Catching people with jewelry was the main issue. 

 

-I also asked the production manager to let me work somewhere on the line for an hour per day/week as my time allowed. It allowed me to get to know people on the floor, and to really see the challenges people deal with and learn the process better than just looking at it. I noticed for example that I can ask employees to change their gloves frequently all day long, but if gloves are very far from them and they can't easily leave a running line, then they won't. We ended up having maintenance build 10 new glove dispenser holders that were mobile so we could arrange them around the lines as needed. People had very easy access to them and were now changing their gloves much more frequently. 

 

 

Hope these are helpful, good luck! 

-I also read this book: https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/1493924885 Some of the examples are a little out there, but for the most part it got me thinking about different ways to do the training to really sink in. Like giving real world examples of recalls or illnesses of products similar to yours, or an actual recall from your own company's history, etc. 

Hello;

thank you for your help

-i already started training in small groups; the fluorescing lotion is a great idea because here they say oh it's just beans no problem no risk.

-the book looks interesting "30 proven techniques to enhance employee compliance" i will read it thanks.

-for me the management and the production doesn't help at all only when it's a client or are audit.

This was very helpful 

Thanks again 

 

#14 wafa2019

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 07:30 PM

This is the hardest of tasks relating to the job of QA!

The first line is to lead by example and get the people above you to understand that this will reduce possible issues and related costs in the future - what is the true cost of a recall, business integrity, loss of brand acceptance and confidence?

Everyone should be given training and the reasons and the understanding of "why is it important to follow, or do, XXXX?'

Again back to the cost of recalls, will that line worker, manager, technician CSR, have a job if the company is not able to rebound from a recall?

Scare the ones above you, get the people that work with you and that you are responsible for to understand it is a team effort and you need to be ready 24/7 365.

 

Most of all - make the training fun and interactive - make them ask questions that include why, and be prepared with relateable answers that may not be technical answers but real life examples of similar issues. 

you are right the people above me should understand the cost of recalls and non conformity 

i will focus on that side because they will listen  when i talk about the money lost

and i will focus on training to make people care  about what i'm saying 



#15 A Food Professional

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 12:52 AM

salam;

 

yes i would love to

thank you so much

 

Wa alikm salam. 

ok, what e-address to be sent that out to? thnx 



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#16 wafa2019

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 07:41 PM

Wa alikm salam. 

ok, what e-address to be sent that out to? thnx 

This is my email address: wafa.khzm@gmail.com

thank you



#17 PQEdwards

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 04:00 PM

Hi,

 

There have been some great replies to your question, particularly that management have a big part to play. If management are seen to believe that food safety culture is important to them and lead by example this goes a long way.

 

One of things I do as part of training i deliver is to try relate employee activities to something that matters to them. So for example if your product is utlimately found in a product on a supernarket self and then the kitchen cupbaird of the employee, his family and friends etc then it begins to become more personal and develops a realisation that poor practice by them can affect someone close.

 

Explaining the potential value of the value rejected/OOS product caused by poor practice/wrong decisions (e.g. how many mobile phones, car tyres, fast food meals etc a particular event was equivalent to)

 

All the best with improving the culture

 

John   



#18 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 06:36 PM

I have a post of some things to keep in mind when coming into a poor food safety culuture that I wrote after the last great discussion we had here. You may find some helpful resources there.

 

http://furfarmandfor...safety-culture/


Austin Bouck
Owner/Consultant at Fur, Farm, and Fork.
Consulting for companies needing effective, lean food safety systems and solutions.

Subscribe to the blog at furfarmandfork.com for food safety research, insights, and analysis.

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#19 GMO

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 12:08 PM

Start at the top.  If your senior leaders aren't on board, you've got no hope.  If they are walking past or, worse, actively condoning poor practice, you are on a losing battle.  Once the senior leadership team are on board, then you all need to bring the next layer on board.

 

You will need to hold each other to account too.  It's going to be hard the first time you shut a line down because of a food safety reason and short an order but the power of that moment, especially if it's an operations person doing it, is huge.



#20 Hoosiersmoker

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 02:23 PM

Lots of great advice above!! You guys rock! Definitely start at the top. If the owners are invested it will show and help all the way down the line. When I took over, the owners had a very basic knowledge of our SQF system. Our first Management Review meeting was me with our FSM, the entire SQF code (for us Modules 2 & 13), the internal audit binder and schedules and the previous year's audit. That meeting was an hour solid of bombarding them with every detail of the system, its implementation and maintenance. I got a lot of "deer in the headlights" looks but it opened their eyes to what they were asking of every person in the organization. At that meeting I suggested quarterly instead of annual meetings. Over the course of the year there was a lot of change on their part that immediately spread through the organization. I had people from all departments and office staff asking me questions about details of their relationship with the system. At the end of the year I asked if they wanted to go back to annual meetings and they emphatically declined stating that they had learned a lot and wanted to be even more invested.

 

Along with that you mentioned that you get push back on the little things. We added most of those little things to being a part of their procedures and retrained them. Once people knew exactly what the expectations were they had no problem complying. And as long as the application was even handed, continued to perform all required activities. It takes away the "They don't do it so I won't" attitude and makes them look like the slacker, and no one wants to be that guy!

 

When asked if we're doing it "for the audit" I always respond with "It's about maintaining the system, not aiming for an audit" and "If we do it all the time, we never have to do extra before an audit"



#21 MlissaB

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 08:43 PM

Things that really helped when I was trying to rectify this:

  • Management buy in really IS number one. If they are on board it will make the rest a lot easier.
  • I included first management, then line workers on my monthly GMP audits, always of a dept. they did NOT work in (easier to be critical of someone else). This drove home that we weren't just doing it to take things away but gave me the opportunity to explain one on one the reason behind the various policies.
  • Depending on your product use real world examples that directly affect your workforce. We were producing non-contact packaging, but they saw it as "just a box." Ask if they would want their child's lunch to come out of that box or if they would want a product they purchased to be packed in that box and it gives them a way to look at the product differently.

I saw someone else comment that if you put it in real world examples that apply to them it becomes a lot easier for them to understand and want to comply with than the good old "because I said so" reason.







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