The Food Safety Culture Questionnaire (FSCQ®) assessment is designed to analyse what the overall organisation food safety culture is as well as quantify what the alignment between its leadership and members are on these issues. The success of implementing and maintaining a food safety program depends on having a positive food safety culture as well as ongoing standardised auditing and measurement systems. An organisation with a strong food safety culture demonstrates to its employees and customers that it not only takes its own brand and products seriously, but that it prioritises the well-being of everyone in its value-chain.
The impact of an effective food safety culture on the success of a food safety program is often overlooked, resulting in it not achieving its objectives. For this reason, food safety must be treated as an integral part of doing business and not just as an internal procedural tick-box or legislative compliance issue. The questionnaire was developed by Dr Gary C. Townsend of Skillworx Africa (Pty) Ltd.
Why measure food safety culture
Food safety involves the handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent food-borne illness. To date much has been done around managing and containing the microbiological impact of failures in food safety systems. The reality, however, is that close to ninety-eight percent of all outbreaks are directly attributed to human behaviour. This in part is directly linked to individual behaviour but, well over forty percent, is directly related to the way the organisation and its leadership creates a culture that drives good food safety. Driving a culture that rewards and promotes a food safety culture across all strata in the organisation is pivotal for creating a positive food safety environment.
Organisations undertaking the 128-item FSCQ® assessment receive a detailed report containing the following 6 Food Safety Culture dimensions (Leadership, Communication, Commitment, Empowerment, Risk, and Management):
LEADERSHIP: direction, alignment, empowerment, facilitation, relationships, connections, and outcomes
COMMUNICATION: leader-member exchange, approach intention, reporting culture, feedback, fairness, and policy
COMMITMENT: reward valence, reward instrumentality, reward expectancy, role clarity, role match
ENVIRONMENT: tangibility, attentiveness, standards, excellence, consistency, and support
RISK: perception, awareness, and behaviour
MANAGEMENT: processes, style, and systems
Benefits for the organisation
At the broadest level, the FSCQ® will enable an organisation to gain reliable and comprehensive assessment of an organisation’s food safety culture. Understanding the alignment of its employees and leaders with the organisation’s overall food safety culture and in so doing, facilitate a strong culture of food safety and help the facility both prevent and catch deviations in their processes that may impact the safety, quality, and legality of their products. In this day and age of high mobility and ever-prevalent speed-to-market expectations, one can never underestimate the importance of ensuring that any food manufacturing facility has rigorous checks and balances as well as a workforce that uncompromisingly adheres to food safety best practices.
FSCQ® Organisation Report
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