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Food safety climate in food processing organizations: Development and validation of a self-assessment tool

De Boeck, E., Jacxsens, L., Bollaerts, M., Vlerick, P.
Trends in food science & technology 2015 v.46 no.2 pp. 242-251
analytical methods, climate, decision making, experts, food industry, food processing, food safety, food supply chain, human behavior, humans, hygiene, management systems, processing technology, traditional foods
Up to now scientific research focused on analytical methods, food processing technology and product formulations as technological solutions and food safety management systems as managerial solutions to improve the hygiene and safety status of food products along the food supply chain. However, in practice, a well elaborated and ‘fit for purpose’ food safety management system, does not always guarantee the highest level of food safety and hygiene and a stable system output. Human behavior (e.g. the actual execution of procedures), and decision making is influenced by the perceived food safety climate in an organization.The aim of this work was to set a definition for food safety climate and culture and to develop and validate a tool to assess the food safety climate in food companies.A definition of food safety culture and food safety climate is offered and key components are identified. Next, a self-assessment tool with twenty eight indicators and a Likert based answer scale was developed and validated by experts and tested in a pilot study. The proposed tool enables food companies to go beyond traditional food safety management, based on technological and managerial approaches, and mirrors the human dimension in food safety.