Testing and Improving HACCP Team Proficiency to Strengthen Food Safety Culture

Wallace, Carol Anne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1402-2134, Jespersen, Lone and Nyarugwe, Shingai orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2245-2388 (2023) Testing and Improving HACCP Team Proficiency to Strengthen Food Safety Culture. In: IAFP's European Symposium on Food Safety, 3-5 May 2023, Aberdeen, Scotland.

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Official URL: https://www.foodprotection.org/europeansymposium/


For years, food companies have invested in collecting food safety data to demonstrate how compliant HACCP programs are and more recently to measure where their food safety cultures are at on a culture maturity continuum. These measures are often based on data collected through surveys and number of non-conformances. Decisions are then made for how to be compliant in the next inspection or audit but, the data are often forgotten, hidden away in filing systems, providing no further value to the company. This information wastage goes against the philosophy of HACCP as a preventative continuous improvement approach to food safety, reducing HACCP to a paperwork exercise. HACCP data and review activities provide learning opportunities for companies to modernise risk management and overcome the complacency often associated with ageing HACCP plans. This requires understanding of HACCP Team dynamics and HACCP proficiency to maximise HACCP program upgrades as a basis for strengthening food safety culture.

Participants will hear about factors influencing HACCP effectiveness, including the influence of human factors. Using a case-study of a North American pet food company, data were collected at three manufacturing locations for food safety culture and HACCP proficiency. Results were tested using ANOVA and found to be significantly different before and after intervention for all three plants. The proficiency levels improved on average 49% post-intervention and the significant factors causing this improvement were identified through factor analysis. Speakers will share results from this case study and other global studies of HACCP teams, HACCP team interventions, and actions required from a practitioner perspective to make lasting and significant changes. This will include correlation of HACCP team and individual team member proficiency to food safety culture and discussion of practice methods and tools leaders have used to make decisions and change behaviours and improve food safety management and culture.

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