It is the belief today that if a company truly believes in producing safe food they must invest in a healthy Food Safety Culture and not just view it as another cost. A strong food safety culture will help to prevent and catch those deviations or problems that will impact on the safety, quality, and integrity of the food they produce. This culture will eventually help to reduce costs and protect brand integrity by reducing the impact and severity of product recalls and complaints.
A truly robust Food safety culture will ultimately help the entire workforce to understand the importance of food safety and their role in manufacturing safe food, thus preventing food poisoning issues for example.
The EU realise the importance of a healthy food safety culture by publishing a draft amendment to EC852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs. The amendment is “ANNEX to the Commission Regulation amending 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" under chapter 11a. The consultation period ended on the 6th of August and adoption is planned in the third quarter of 2020.
The amendment outlines 10 steps to a regulatory food safety culture that covers the commitment required by managers and business leaders and ensuring that appropriate resources are available. It also describes practical commitments such as ensuring that appropriate training is given, that the integrity of the food hygiene program is maintained, and encouraging the improvement of the food safety program to take into account developments in science and technology.
This is certainly a welcome development to ensure that food businesses in Europe take food safety seriously and it gives a regulatory platform in which to develop the concept further. The EU in an attempt to protect small businesses has included a caveat “The implementation of the food safety culture shall take account of the nature and size of the food business.”
A draft legislation document published by the European Commission includes recommended requirements centered around food safety culture.