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Food Safety Culture Key to Building Safety into Food

09 March 2010
University News
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CANADA - A food safety and food microbiology professor with the University of Manitoba suggests the creation of a food safety culture within food processing plants is a critical step in minimizing the risk of foodborne illness, writes Bruce Cochrane.

"Building Safety into Food" is among the topics being discussed this week in Toronto as part of Food Safety Summit.

Dr. Rick Holley, a food safety and food microbiology professor with the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, says the adoption of proactive food safety systems which embody good manufacturing processes, standardized sanitizing operating procedures and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point programs is key.

Clip-Dr. Rick Holley-University of Manitoba

One of the very first things very very high on the construction ladder if you like in terms of building safety into food is to have senior management develop a culture of food safety in the company.

That's the number one issue, where things associated with food safety have to be on an equal footing as things like financial performance and that's difficult for some company executives to arrive at but it's an extremely important issue.

The second thing of course is ownership by employees all along the hierarchy within the company so that at the very lowest levels within the company that there is a food safety culture and that an employee has the ability under such a system to bring to the attention of more senior folks that there is a problem that will impact the level of safety of food that's being produced in the company.

By doing so they would recognize that action would be taken.

Dr. Holley says, once a food safety system has been implemented, ongoing monitoring and record keeping are critical to ensure what has been put in place is operating the way it's supposed to be.

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