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Alliance to Prevent Foodborne Illness Develops Food Safety Culture Toolkit

Food safety culture is one of the most powerful change agents in the food industry. A mature and positive food safety culture, by definition, consists of shared values, norms, and beliefs that influence mindsets and behaviours toward food safety in, across, and throughout the organization.

Shivam Dwivedi

To assist companies in maturing their food safety cultures, the Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness has developed an evolving food safety culture toolkit tailored to small and medium-sized food businesses. Stop Foodborne Illness (STOP) and industry-leading food safety practitioners from Fortune 500 companies comprise the Alliance.

Food safety culture is one of the most powerful change agents in the food industry. A mature and positive food safety culture, by definition, consists of shared values, norms, and beliefs that influence mindsets and behaviors toward food safety in, across, and throughout the organization.

Leaders in mature and positive cultures demonstrate ownership and recognize that food safety is critical to both the consumer and the company's success.

"Every company has a food safety culture — good, bad, or indifferent — but how do you work to improve when you don't know where to begin?" According to the Alliance.

The Alliance is providing the toolkit for free because they believe that even one person affected by foodborne illness is too many. It also aims to improve food safety behaviours that help keep our friends, loved ones, and neighbours healthy.

The toolkit is the result of a year's worth of work that included considering scientific facts, personal food safety culture experiences, and working with STOP constituent advocates who had been impacted by a foodborne illness.

Quality Assurance & Food Safety assists businesses in developing a strategy to improve their food safety culture. "This toolkit assists food companies in transitioning from doing the bare minimum to avoid recalls to making good, holistic decisions to protect overall public health."

"By sharing the best practices of our Alliance members, smaller businesses can now chart a course toward improving their own food safety culture." This toolkit does not serve as a checklist. It is a continuous learning process, a helpful guide in selecting the most effective tools for your workforce," said Dr. Vanessa Coffman, Director of the Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness.

The toolkit, like a food safety culture journey, will evolve with additional resources, guides, and how-to strategies. "We will keep improving this toolkit as long as organizations want to keep products and families safe from foodborne illness," Coffman said.

The Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness is a programme of Stop Foodborne Illness (STOP), a national, non-profit public health organization dedicated to the prevention of foodborne illness and death.

STOP, which was founded in 1993 by those affected by a deadly strain of E. coli, continues to support and represent illness survivors, advance public understanding of foodborne illness, and advocate for public policies and industry practises that strengthen prevention.

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