Traditional methods still lead the way in food safety training

Importance of food safety culture highlighted in survey

Traditional training methods are still favoured over online ones, according to an industry survey.

It found the use of interactive technology and computer-based eLearning are making slow progress in adoption and are still among the least frequently used methods.

On-the-job training came top with over 80% of those surveyed using this method.

The fourth annual global survey of food safety training was organised by Campden BRI and Alchemy with BRC, SGS, SQF and TSI.

It questioned food and drink manufacturers and processors to identify the needs, effectiveness and challenges of training in the industry.

The survey was sent to over 25,000 food manufacturing and processing sites globally and around 1,250 responded.

A lot of the findings are similar to what the survey found last year.

Food safety culture

Improving food safety culture was the most important training goal ahead of effective employee performance, creating a safe wholesome product and skill development and an improved food safety culture was named as one of the top benefits of effective training.

However, less than 50% said food safety culture is included in their company’s training programme and only 35% said the level of it is considered when measuring the value of training.

Just 19% said food safety culture audits are used to measure sustained positive behaviours.

The top four responses on the biggest challenge to developing such a culture was lack of resources, negative employee attitudes, lack of effective communication and multi-cultural workforce.

The biggest training challenge was scheduling the time with almost double the percentage of the second most popular response: verifying effective training. A total of 84% said they had not changed their training provider during 2015.

Change since last year

When asked about the quality of training compared to last year, 54% said it was the same, 45% said better and only 1% answered worse.

In terms of quantity, 52% said the same, 44% said more and 4% said less.

When selecting a training provider or method relevant, current training and content came top followed by employee engagement and comprehension and efficient delivery.

External accreditation, number of courses available and automated record-keeping/documentation were the bottom three responses.

The companies surveyed ranged in size from under 50 employees to over 1,000 and cover sectors including beverages, cereal and baking, dairy, retail, and packaging.

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), personal hygiene, traceability/recall, allergen program and sanitation/cleaning were among the topics most covered by company training program.

Horizon scanning, intentional adulteration, GFSI Program Overview and product sampling protocols were least often covered.

Ways of keeping training ‘top of mind’ included supervisor communications and team meetings (60%) while digital messaging and pay check stuffers ranked below 10% of responses.

Campden BRI said the survey provides information which allows companies to benchmark their food safety training against other food manufacturers and processors and identify opportunities for development.

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