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Building a Food Safety Culture

By Geoff Schaadt 

When we say, “We need to improve our food safety culture,” a number of questions follow this simple statement.

food-safety-cultureQuestions such as “Why?” Or, “Does this have something to do with our strategy?” Or, “Is that because of the new regulations?” These all matter, but the most important question is, “What do we really mean when we say ‘food safety culture’?”

What Culture Isn’t

Before examining what we mean when we talk about corporate culture, and more specifically food safety culture, let’s first try to understand what corporate culture isn’t. It is not the poster hanging in the lobby that lists “Our Corporate Values.” And it isn’t just the nearby plaques that display the mission and vision statements.

Food safety culture is not part of a policies and procedures manual. Nor is it whatever the HR “onboarding” manual wants new hires to think it is.

What Culture Is

Food safety culture, and other aspects of corporate culture, is “the smell of the place”. It’s the reserved parking and bathrooms and breakrooms. It’s tickets to Game 7 in the corporate suite. It’s all of the things that are discussed in the coffee room.

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