SAN DIEGO — To create a good food safety culture, it’s important for senior managers to show and tell workers how committed they are to it, establish smart goals around food safety and properly educate employees, among other things.

“Food safety culture is the collective of individual and group perceptions for beliefs about food safety, their attitude toward food safety and ultimately their behavior toward food safety,” Peg Ray, senior manager of product development and innovation, AIB International, said at BEMA Convention 2022.

Her presentation, “Food Safety Culture for Senior Leaders,” was part of the virtual Workforce Edition of the convention for those unable to attend in person. The convention is June 22-25 in San Diego.

Ms. Ray said that a good food safety culture contains several common attributes including management commitment, learning and behavior reinforcement, food safety measurements and metrics.

She emphasized the importance of management not only correcting food safety problems but celebrating the accomplishments of their teams.

“Too many times management focuses purely on weakness,” Ms. Ray said. “When developing a positive culture, we need to provide more balance. It’s often more encouraging to focus on the strengths and recognize the wins. Winning improves morale. It’s been proven that positive reinforcement has a bigger impact on nurturing staff engagement than one that tends to focus on failure and weaknesses.”

Good communication, consistent messaging and creating an environment in which workers can be open and honest without fear of repercussions will lead to success in a bakery’s food safety culture.

“Once strengths and weaknesses are assessed, adjustments can be made to successfully improve areas of concern,” Ms. Ray said. “Talent times investment equals strength. Invest time and education in talented individuals to achieve consistency and performance. This isn’t a magic formula, but it helps to have individuals who are passionate about food safety. Create a talent culture, with the talent being knowledge and passion for food safety.”