Did you know that in spite of all the advances in food safety technology and increased regulatory requirements, there are still approximately 3,000 people in the United States who die each year from food-borne illness? That doesn’t include the millions who get sick from eating or drinking something that contains a bacterial, chemical or physical hazard. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who tracks and investigates food-related outbreaks and
recalls.

Implementing food safety controls and management systems is a top priority for many leaders in food manufacturing, service, and retailing, especially since the FDA released the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011 and continues to refine its policies and procedures. It is said that FSMA is the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years. 

So why is food safety still an issue in the U.S.?

Organizations who have squeaky clean food safety records often say it’s all about creating a food safety culture, and they believe many people in the food business don’t understand what that means or how to create it. Others say that there are just too many other priorities such as sourcing, generating revenue, employee turnover, customer service, etc., that take precedence.

Creating a food safety culture isn’t just for the big players.

However, history proves that one incident of finger-pointing by a consumer who says he or she got sick from something served at a restaurant or purchased from a supermarket, makes all the other priorities shrink overnight.

Creating a food safety culture isn’t just for the big players. From schools, to theaters, to coffee shops and taverns, food safety impacts everyone. Implementing standards for receiving, storing, heating/cooling, and serving any type of food and beverage (including knowing whether water is “potable”) is important. Personal hygiene and sanitation are critical as well.

National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRFSP) is a nationally-accredited provider of food safety certification exams and serves many companies who are successful in creating a food safety culture. It starts with a top-to-bottom approach, with executives who support it, managers who role model it, and employees who are trained and reinforced on the job.

There are many tools and resources available to support a food safety culture, such as quick reference guides, laminated wall charts with U.S. Food Code information, videos, and more. Including food safety topics during employee meetings, creating recognition and incentive programs, and making sure employees are encouraging one other; all go a long way toward sustaining a food safety culture.

For more information, call 1-800-446-0257 or visit www.nrfsp.com.

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