Incorporating Organizational Behaviour into Food Safety Culture 2022

Welcome to our food leadership series. In this series, we will share how to build and incorporate leadership into our organization’s food safety culture and the importance of doing so.

Let’s begin this series by asking yourselves, are you a leader or a follower? Do you want to make an impact in your food organizations?

I know how we disqualified ourselves from being a leader as we think only Senior Management are the leaders in building a food safety culture. Most of us want to make an impact where we spend time working. You can be a leader as long as you want to. Have you seen a leader whom you respect but they don’t have a title? The job title is not the only way to reflect your leadership.

Whether you are a leader or a follower, there is something for everyone to relate to in this article. We have seen some of these situations throughout our working experiences related to the company’s culture.

Food safety is one of the most important aspects of a company’s culture. Food leaders who are unaware of food safety culture can negatively affect their organization, employees, and customers. Poor food safety practices can lead to serious health risks for employees and consumers. This article discusses the relationship between food safety culture and organizational behaviours.

Food Safety Culture Takes Time

First, it is important to note that a strong food safety culture cannot be developed overnight. Creating an effective environment where everyone understands and follows safe eating guidelines takes time and effort. Second, leaders should understand how organizational behaviour affects food safety practices. Organizational behaviour is a complex and multi-faceted topic, which can be difficult for leaders to understand.

This is especially true regarding food safety, where different factors (like risk-taking behaviours and team cohesion) can significantly impact practice.

Unaware of Food Safety Culture Hurts

A leader who does not know about food safety culture can have serious consequences for the organization. This is because food safety is an essential part of any business, and if a leader does not understand this, they may make mistakes that could lead to food safety problems.

A lack of awareness about food safety risks can lead managers to ineffective prevention and poor response times when something happens; this puts both customers and team members at risk. Ineffective prevention methods often include relying on outdated or untested technology solutions, which may not be effective against current threats or resistant employee behaviour.

If managers believe risk-taking behaviours are necessary for business success, they may be more likely to engage in unsafe practices. Similarly, if teams feel like they are part of a cohesive unit, they may be less likely to communicate or cooperate with other departments to ensure safe food.

For leaders to understand these issues and take appropriate action, they need access to the right information – something that is often difficult to achieve when management does not know about food safety culture.

By understanding how the food business operates from an operational and cultural perspective, you’ll be better equipped to create an effective food safety culture that meets the needs of your employees and customers alike.

Making Impactful Changes

To create an effective and sustainable food safety culture, leaders must first understand the basics of food safety. Food safety starts with understanding how to store, prepare, and serve food properly. Without understanding the basics of food safety and how it relates to organizational behaviour, leaders cannot effectively manage risk or implement corrective action when problems occur.

Leaders should also be aware of preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of contamination. Once these basics are understood, leaders can develop policies and procedures that reflect their organization’s specific needs.

Starting Point for Solving Negative Food Safety Culture

One of the first steps in fixing the negative food safety culture is ensuring that all leaders know the importance of having a food safety culture. Once this has been done, it’s important to start implementing some basic organizational behaviours that can help protect the organization from potential food safety issues. For example, it is key to ensure that all employees are properly trained on handling food and working safely with it.

When doing this, food leaders need to be aware of the cultural norms within their organization to create a food safety culture effectively. By understanding what employees are used to, they can help promote safe practices while also minimizing resistance. Additionally, leaders should work with other departments and teams to ensure everyone works together towards a common goal. Only through cooperation can managers build an effective food safety culture that can protect employees and customers alike.

Setting clear standards and procedures for handling foods should also be implemented so that everyone knows what needs to be done to stay safe. Finally, monitoring and tracking progress towards these goals should be regularly carried out to make changes as necessary. By taking these steps, you can hopefully fix the relationship between leader knowledge about food safety culture and organizational behaviours – which will ultimately result in a safer environment for your customers and team members.

Additionally, a strong food safety culture requires continuous reinforcement from all levels of an organization. Leaders must ensure everyone understands the importance of food safety practices and follow through on directives when necessary.

Employees look for and follow their leaders. If the leaders do not foster continuous reinforcement and adhere to the set food safety regulations, the employees likely follow their leads. The negative reinforcement would make it hard and a struggle to foster positive food safety culture in the organization.

Good and open leadership can help create a culture of food safety by setting an example and promoting values such as transparency, accountability, and respect for people and the environment.

 Final Tips for Leaders

If you are a leader, this is what you can do to help promote a food safety culture in your organization :

  1. Establish clear food safety objectives and expectations for your team. Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them, and be consistent in enforcing these standards.
  2. Encourage team members to report any food safety concerns, no matter how small they may seem. This will help you identify potential issues before they become bigger problems.
  3. Make sure training programs are regularly updated and relevant to the current needs of your organization’s employees. This way, everyone understands the importance of food safety and is prepared to take action if necessary.”

In conclusion, leaders must consider the relationship between food safety culture and organizational behaviours before implementing changes or developing new policies related to food safety. Doing so can help ensure that employees and consumers remain safe while conducting business activities sustainably.



Author: Felicia
Felicia Loo is a Certified Food Scientist and registered SQF Consultant, focused on assisting food business to obtain food business license, achieving effective food safety management system and automate food safety system.