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How can I turn around a poor Food Safety Culture?

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mariagrazia23

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Posted 09 March 2023 - 09:36 PM

My challenging daily task is trying to have everyone work as a Food culture.

As a FS Manager, I am the only person who solely cares about Food Culture. I can do all the training with every department in the plant yet nobody regress back to old habits or i have no management support.

 

How can I turn this around?

 

Shipping, Receiving, Sales and Marketing is more important than Food Safety and Food Quality.



Madam A. D-tor

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Posted 10 March 2023 - 07:34 AM

As we know, managers are always keen on financial results and reputation in the market.

So if you want their attention, 'translate' quality and food safety parameters into financial figures. 

If you give me your main worries and the complaint you receive the most, I can try to give you an example.


Kind Regards,

Madam A. D-tor

SHQuality

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Posted 10 March 2023 - 10:45 AM

One of the things my employer doesn't seem to realize is that complaints are far more expensive that laboratory testing.



kfromNE

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Posted 10 March 2023 - 01:03 PM

Without management support - it'll be very difficult/almost impossible. Show them the cost savings of having a safe food culture. Look at the cost of a recall, the cost of getting shut down by a regulatory body, reputation costs, etc. In the US and FDA products, the most upper manager in the building is the one who takes the most responsibility if something goes wrong. Whether they know about food safety or not. That's their job to know as much or as little as they want to.



Kara S.

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Posted 10 March 2023 - 03:26 PM

My challenging daily task is trying to have everyone work as a Food culture.

As a FS Manager, I am the only person who solely cares about Food Culture. I can do all the training with every department in the plant yet nobody regress back to old habits or i have no management support.

 

How can I turn this around?

 

Shipping, Receiving, Sales and Marketing is more important than Food Safety and Food Quality.

 

I believe we have all been your shoes! It is important to note that no regulator or 3rd party auditor will see your facility as a reflection of just you. It's not - it's all management especially the plant manager and owner.

 

What has worked well with my clients is performing a mass balance of your facility and also relating any food safety concerns back to the regulation. There needs to be a balance and you may find an ally with your maintenance department. If you feel like those departments are have the most pull then I bet maintenance isn't getting the downtime they need for PMs and sanitation isn't getting the downtime they need to adequately clean and perform master sanitation tasks.

  • The mass-balance will show your max capacity - what the maximum rates you can run your product lines at IN THEIR CURRENT STATE. If you are to exceed those, your equipment will fail. All manufacturers try to push the envelope, but if you can provide the numbers - our equipment can't exceed these rates or they will breakdown, it could help with pushing back on these unrealistic sales goals. 

 

  • Relate things back to the regulation. If you are performing GMP audits, have a bunch of food safety plan deviations, and just running through a list of 50 items every month that isnt getting done - try the approach of showing them the exact regulation it refers back to. Say SEE HERE - 21 CFR Part 117 says THIS. We will get written up if the FDA walks through our door. It might start shifting some mindsets and has helped our clients get approval for projects.

 

  • Put your foot down! It's scary and you might get yelled at but if you arent meeting your master sanitation or preventive maintenance work orders during downtime - surpass it, delay start-up, and not care. At the end of the day, they will be annoyed but know that CLEANING needed to happen. Take before and after pictures if you must to show sales and marketing - this is why we had to cancel orders. If you let those departments you mentioned always have the upper hand - they will take it. You need to take it back. Food Safety must be balanced across all departments. Once the scales become unbalanced as they are, its difficult to level them out once more because they'll start saying "what changed? I don't remember us needing 48 hours downtime before for cleaning. why did maintenance take so long?" While they will ask these questions its not because anything changed, those tasks always took that long, it's because the plant allowed skipping some tasks once and it just continued into the new norm. Taking that time back is difficult, hold your ground.

 

  • Also you mentioned that you have done training and they regress - well, start writing people up. If operators can get written up for being a couple mins late to work then they can get written up for not following procedures correctly and impacting the safety of finished product. 

Edited by Kara S., 10 March 2023 - 03:31 PM.

Kind regards, 

 

Kara

Food & Beverage Industry Consultant

IFSQN Business ListingLinkedIn  |  Webpage

 

 


hello.fizz

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Posted 14 March 2023 - 05:42 AM

My management team are quite supportive, but when I started I found I was spending a lot of time replying and investigating customer queries (quality). I told the directors how much time this was taking me each day or week, and they agreed to make some changes as my time cost had already outweighed the cost of preventing most of these queries. 



jfrey123

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Posted 16 March 2023 - 04:13 PM

The key for me has always been to help the company understand savings of doing things right the first time over the cost of redoing things or dealing with a catastrophic problem.  It works best for me when I approach management or other departments with the requirement we need to meet, an idea to implement that either makes their jobs easier or streamlined somehow, and examples of how being in compliance ahead of time is going to save them in the long run.

 

Slowly, but surely, I get people to come around and believe in the new system.  Companies I've worked with started out as "Oh, that SQF stuff?  Put it in a binder and we'll open it next year when the auditor comes."  But teaching them that we need to have the full year's worth of records in place, we need to conduct these trainings to survive the audit, etc., eventually brought them around (especially when they took hits on that next audit for not participating).



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Kara S.

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Posted 17 March 2023 - 12:29 PM

The key for me has always been to help the company understand savings of doing things right the first time over the cost of redoing things or dealing with a catastrophic problem.  It works best for me when I approach management or other departments with the requirement we need to meet, an idea to implement that either makes their jobs easier or streamlined somehow, and examples of how being in compliance ahead of time is going to save them in the long run.

 

Slowly, but surely, I get people to come around and believe in the new system.  Companies I've worked with started out as "Oh, that SQF stuff?  Put it in a binder and we'll open it next year when the auditor comes."  But teaching them that we need to have the full year's worth of records in place, we need to conduct these trainings to survive the audit, etc., eventually brought them around (especially when they took hits on that next audit for not participating).

 

Agreed! Money talks - Rather than focusing on QA related metrics (number of holds, complaints, deviations) relate everything back to other departments metrics at focus on the bottom dollar. 

 

Rather than saying in January we had 5 holds and February we had 12, build upon that to say because we had these 5 holds - X amount of time was lost, X amount of time was taken to rerun this product, X amount of product was discarded, which equates to $XXX,XXX. If we performed our food safety/quality plan as written it would have been detected sooner and saved us all this money. 


Kind regards, 

 

Kara

Food & Beverage Industry Consultant

IFSQN Business ListingLinkedIn  |  Webpage

 

 


Hoosiersmoker

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Posted 17 March 2023 - 05:56 PM

Lack of support from management is a critical system failure is automatic loss of certification. How would that sit with the owners? Food Safety Culture needs to be exemplified by management before you can ever hope to gain buy-in from anyone below them.





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