Global food safety training survey: barriers and benefits of effective training for food and drink companies
Campden BRI and Alchemy in partnership with BRC, SGS, SQF and TSI have released the results of the fourth annual global survey of food safety training. The survey questioned food and drink manufacturers and processors worldwide to identify the needs, effectiveness and challenges of food safety training in the industry.
The results reveal some interesting trends:
- Improving food safety culture was the top training goal for almost 80% of those surveyed
- Many companies are not exploiting the specialist expertise available in their HR departments
- Traditional training methods are still favoured over online methods
The importance of culture
Improving food safety culture was stated as 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. Yet, less than 50% of those surveyed said food safety culture is currently included in their company’s training programme and only 35% said the level of food safety culture is considered when measuring the value of training. Even less, just 19%, said food safety culture audits are used to measure sustained positive food safety behaviours.
Who’s job is it?
The results show that three-quarters of those surveyed said the responsibility for food safety training either rested with quality control or technical staff. Only in 8% of cases was HR primarily responsible. Large numbers of those surveyed are not exploiting specialist resources available in their HR departments. They could be missing out on fundamental tools used by HR colleagues to identify training needs such as commercial learning management systems. Instead 70% have to rely on paper-based training records.
The use of interactive technology and computer-based eLearning are making slow progress in adoption and are – perhaps surprisingly – still among the least frequently used methods. On-the-job training came top with over 80% of those surveyed using this method. There are opportunities for companies to incorporate a greater variety of delivery methods into their training to meet the needs of participants with different learning styles (e.g. pragmatic, reflective or theoretical) and from different generations (e.g. Generation X, Generation C (‘digital natives’)).
Global benchmarking tool
The survey provides invaluable information which allows companies to benchmark their food safety training against other food manufacturers and processors from around the world and identify opportunities for development.
The survey was sent to over 25,000 food manufacturing and processing sites worldwide, so the results provide a complete useful snapshot of the current activities and practices in food safety training. The companies surveyed represent a cross section of the industry and ranged in size from under 50 employees to over 1,000 and cover many sectors including beverages, cereal and baking, dairy, retail, and packaging.
To read the full results of the study, which surveyed companies on all areas of food safety from auditing and measuring competency to management of training records, please visit https://www.campdenbri.co.uk/training/globalfoodsafetytrainingsurvey2016.pdf