Food safety culture: the evolution of an emerging risk factor?

C.J. Griffith (Von Holy Consulting CC, Bellville, South Africa)
K.M. Livesey (Cardiff School of Health Sciences, University of Wales Institute Cardiff, Cardiff, UK)
D.A. Clayton (Cardiff School of Health Sciences, University of Wales Institute Cardiff, Cardiff, UK)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Publication date: 20 April 2010

Abstract

Purpose

Outbreaks of foodborne disease are often investigated to determine the causes although traditional approaches to identifying risk factors may not determine the real or underlying causes. The aim of this paper is to identify a food safety culture that can be used in addition to more traditional risk factors.

Design/methodology/approach

A parallel is drawn between the use of the term “emerging pathogen” and the emergence of food safety culture as a risk factor in food poisoning outbreaks. The evolution of the term starting with organizational culture is developed via the literature on health and safety culture. The concept of food safety culture and reservations over the use of the term are examined along with possible distinctions between food safety culture and climate.

Findings

The concept of food safety culture has direct parallels with “safety culture” and in the prevention of healthcare associated infections. The use of food safety culture is useful as part of outbreak investigation. It is likely that more than one food safety culture exists within large organizations or those with multiple sub units. A definition of food safety culture is proposed.

Originality/value

Increasing interest is being shown in the use of food safety culture to understand and, in turn prevent, food poisoning outbreaks and this is the first time a definition has been proposed. This paper will be of great interest to industry, academics and public health officials and can be used to answer questions on the topic, which are increasingly being asked by hygiene examining bodies.

Keywords

Citation

Griffith, C., Livesey, K. and Clayton, D. (2010), "Food safety culture: the evolution of an emerging risk factor?", British Food Journal, Vol. 112 No. 4, pp. 426-438. https://doi.org/10.1108/00070701011034439

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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