The assessment of food safety culture

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. Clayton (Cardiff School of Health Sciences, University of Wales Institute Cardiff, Cardiff, UK)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Publication date: 20 April 2010



The concept of food safety organizational culture, whilst largely ignored in the past, is attracting increasing interest. The purpose of this paper is to examine a possible framework for assessing a business's food safety culture.


The literature on health and safety culture and organizational culture is examined and relevant components applicable to food safety are identified and discussed.


A total of six possible groupings including: food safety management systems and style; food safety leadership; food safety communication; food safety commitment; food safety environment and risk perception were identified as “culture” factors that could contribute to food safety performance. These can form the basis for assessing food safety culture and how this may be done practically along with the creation of a positive food safety culture are discussed. Management is traditionally talked about in food safety but a distinction is drawn between this and food safety leadership.


For the first time a method for, and the potential benefits from, assessing food safety culture is presented and this will be of value to auditors, environmental health practitioners and industry. Utilizing the suggestions in the paper could help improve compliance with third‐party hygiene standards, and reduce the risk of food poisoning.



Griffith, C., Livesey, K. and Clayton, D. (2010), "The assessment of food safety culture", British Food Journal, Vol. 112 No. 4, pp. 439-456.

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