March/April 2023

Food safety culture can provide companies with advantages
By Dana Slagle

I think we all agree that there is a level of complexity to building and maintaining a world-class food safety program. It will never be easy to navigate the constantly changing rules and regulations.

Here’s the positive news: subject matter experts share best practices that can make it much easier to foster a strong food safety culture.

Dana Slagle is a Certified Professional of Food Safety and works closely with Provision’s Partner Network. Photo: Provided

Here are three that you might find helpful.

Develop a ‘food safety culture scorecard’

Alan Grant, who spent years with NSF International and Sobeys, now operates his own consulting firm. I asked Alan if he viewed “food safety culture” as a buzz term. “It’s not a buzz term,” he said. “As a matter of fact, we can expect a continued focus on food safety culture over the next few years. When working with my clients, I always recommend creating a food safety culture scorecard. This visual helps them understand where they are at and the progress they are making.” Many well-respected companies use this type of scorecard and say the key is keeping it simple so that it doesn’t overwhelm the team.

Food safety culture can be competitive edge

There are many obvious reasons why food safety culture is important. One often overlooked benefit is related to competitive advantage. Doug Bulgrin, onion packing shed manager with Gumz Farms, said: “I’m comfortable bringing customers to our facility at any time since we have a strong food safety program. This gives us a leg up over our competition and our customers have more peace of mind.” Cassie Krebs, Gumz Farms food safety coordinator, agreed, adding that “in order to stay ready for a customer visit or an audit, our team has a focus on diligent organization and task management.”

Use automation to improve consistency

Why is developing a strong food safety culture challenging? Patrick Brown, senior quality assurance and food safety director for Rite Aid, points out that “it has been especially difficult since COVID because of labor issues. A strong food safety culture requires collaboration and consistency. When there is a revolving door in terms of staffing, it is harder to get buy-in from the team and have everyone on the same page.”

So if you are short- staffed, think about small steps your team can take towards being more consistent and collaborative. Many companies which automate workflows related to compliance requirements see a marked improvement in consistency.

If you would like to learn more about improving organization and consistency through digital solutions, reach out to Provision Analytics. Provision provides easy-to-use, cost-effective digital solutions that result in time savings and reduced risks.

Dana Slagle is a Certified Professional of Food Safety and works closely with Provision’s Partner Network, which is made up of some of the most well-respected food safety firms in the industry.

Provision Analytics provides cloud- based technology with digital solutions that help small, medium and large food companies operate more efficiently and mitigate compliance risks. We work with all GFSI schemes including, but not limited to, GlobalG.A.P., PrimusGFS, SQF, BRC and CanadaGAP.


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