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Cultivate Food Safety – Do You have A Blueprint?

Author: Lone Jespersen

When the topic of food safety is discussed, oftentimes we talk about developing and engaging leaders to develop a plan – a blueprint, if you will – to improve organizational food safety performance. But first, we must acknowledge that managing culture is like managing finances or your own personal fitness; it requires an understanding of where you are, where you want to go, what will get you there and how to sustain once you have reached your goal.

To do this, Cultivate has developed a comprehensive method for assessing an organization’s current level of food safety. First, in order to determine the maturity and quality of a food safety culture, Cultivate assesses the organization in 5 dimensions. These 5 dimensions are referred to as “The Dimensions of culture” and help to identify where an organization is regarding their food safety culture. Once the dimension has been determined, the next step is the Maturity Model. This model helps to determine strengths and weaknesses to help define a blueprint for change. This blueprint is critical to success ­- ‘a goal without a plan is merely a wish’.

This food safety blueprint will serve many purposes. It will help to simplify the company culture, the state of the organization and will list realistic action steps. In addition, it will enable sharper conversations within the organization when discussing the need for change and helps clarify how to take on this challenge.

Conventionally, the food safety team is part of the onboarding process has a PowerPoint that contains many slides of important information about GMP, HACCP and MRSI programs. Although the food safety team delivers this information consistently, mistakes are often made by new employees. This causes frustration and often new hires are reprimanded or let go. In a more mature company, one that is using a comprehensive blueprint for food safety, human resources ensure that all learning material is developed specifically for new hires. All learning materials are built on competencies that have been critically developed by food safety professionals. Learning will take place in small groups and is reinforced by a ‘Buddy’ of the new hire. This Buddy will certify that the new hire has a complete understanding of the prior lesson before allowing them to continue to the next learning session. When developing your blueprint, look for creative solutions like these to retain new hires.

Defining a blueprint for maturing food safety within the context of your organizational culture can be very exciting. A good plan will energize teams and individuals with confidence knowing they have the proper knowledge and skills to complete their job. Developing a blueprint to help guide your leaders through the complexity is key to an organization’s ongoing success and safety of all consumers.


Submitted By:

Lone Jespersen

Director, Food Safety Strategy, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. and Principal at Cultivate, Ph.D.

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