Food Safety Culture Becoming the Law
The European Commission has proposed some addition to the regulation on the hygiene of foodstuffs (Regulation 852/2004). One aspect of the changes to the regulation will be a requirement for the adoption of the concept of a “food safety culture” within all food businesses. This concept has gained momentum in recent years and was adopted by Codex Alimentarius. The idea is that a food safety culture within a food business enhances food safety, by increasing the awareness and improving behaviour of employees in food businesses. The implementation of the food safety culture will take account of the nature and size of the food business.
The proposed addition to the regulation will require food businesses to establish, maintain and provide evidence of an appropriate food safety culture by fulfilling the following requirements:
- commitment of the management and all employees to the safe production and distribution of food
- leadership towards the production of safe food and to engage all employees in food safety practices
- awareness of food safety hazards and of the importance of food safety and hygiene by all employees in the food business
- open and clear communication between all employees in the food business, within an activity and between consecutive activities, including communication of deviations and expectations
- availability of sufficient resources to ensure the safe and hygienic handling of food.
Management commitment shall include:
- ensuring that roles and responsibilities are clearly communicated within each activity of the food business
- maintaining the integrity of the food hygiene system when changes are planned and implemented
- verifying that controls are being performed timely and efficiently and documentation is up to date
- ensuring that the appropriate training and supervision are in place for personnel
- ensuring compliance with relevant regulatory requirements
- encouraging continual improvement of the food safety management system of the food business, where appropriate, taking into account developments in science, technology and best practices.
The proposal for the addition has been agreed, however is not published yet and the date for publication is not known at this time. The FSAI will share the addition once it is published.