Wallace, Carol A., Holyoak, Lynda, Powell, Susan C. and Dykes, Fiona C.
Re-thinking the HACCP team: An investigation into HACCP team knowledge and decision-making for successful HACCP development.
Food Research International, 47
The multidisciplinary HACCP team is a firmly embedded part of the HACCP system and it is a generally held belief that the outcome of this team approach will be a stronger food safety system than could be developed by individuals working alone. HACCP team members are normally selected for their operational skills and expertise rather than HACCP knowledge, and are normally trained to an equivalent level in HACCP principle application. However if there are weaknesses in the HACCP team's knowledge about how to apply HACCP principles it follows that there could be weaknesses in the system. Similarly the way that HACCP team members interact and share knowledge could have an impact on food safety, particularly whose view will prevail when there is a difference of opinion, and whether more junior team members have the confidence to challenge their more senior colleagues. It is therefore important to understand the way that HACCP teams work together to make decisions about food safety and HACCP.
In the setting of a multinational manufacturing organisation, this research uses a combination of HACCP knowledge testing of individuals and teams with observation of the HACCP team decision-making process to investigate the impact of HACCP teams on the success of the HACCP development process. Findings are contrary to the expected outcome, in that HACCP team knowledge was not necessarily better than that of the individual team members. A potential effect of the team scribe on HACCP effectiveness was identified. Results are discussed with reference to team decision-making models.
This research provides insight into HACCP team decision-making processes, and identifies potential limitations within HACCP team operation that need to be understood by food companies. The findings challenge traditional views of the HACCP team and propose approaches to team selection that will maximise HACCP development success.