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CEO – 5 Key Food Safety Questions To Ask

by Andrew Thomson on May 28, 2019

Food safety management requires monitoring and supervision at a senior corporate level.

If you are a Chief Executive of a food service operation such as a hospital, aged care facility or a catering operation, then you would be familiar with the need to have a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) based food safety management system and a solid understanding of food law requirements as you are ultimately responsible for food safety management – whether you provide an in-house or contracted out service.

The operating system in your organisation should be supported with the appropriate policies and procedures as part of a risk-based approach to food safety management.

As chief executive, food safety management requires your commitment. This commitment should be visible and active with a food safety management policy.

Your senior managers should be a reliable source of food safety information for you and your customers; keep the trust of food regulators and accreditation assessors; earn the confidence of clients; and be a catalyst to improve food safety across the organisation.

As an organisation it should be accountable for fully implementing your food safety management system and continuously seek ways to improve. Your food handling employees (and management) need to be accountable for implementing the food safety policies, procedures, and continuous improvement in these areas.

Food safety management is an area of operational risk which is overlooked, resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people, and systems or from external events. Failure to appropriately manage operational risk can expose organisations to significant losses.

Risk Monitoring and Reporting

An effective monitoring and reporting process is essential for adequately managing operational risk. There should be timely reporting of key information to senior management and the board of directors to support proactive management of risks.

As chief executive:

  • how do you assure yourself the food safety management system has been fully implemented across the organisation?
  • have all food safety risks been identified, assessed and appropriate mitigation strategies put in place? How are you informed of this?
  • what reporting processes are in place to inform you of the results (and actions taken) from internal and external audits and comprehensive senior management reviews to ensure the food safety management system is fit for purpose?
  • how are you assured that the identification of the root cause of non-conformities is effectively addressed and has been endorsed by senior management?
  • have you received internal management reports on the effectiveness or return on investment with food safety training?

Like any risk management process, implementing a robust food safety management system and follow through requires the effort of a team to be successful. Food safety management is a fundamental part of an organisation’s risk management strategy.

Ensuring that you are connected to resources that will provide you with the latest industry knowledge will also help mitigate any potential problems and help manage your daily risks. Demonstrating due diligence in each level of your operation will help monitor staff performance and ensure that their skills are producing safe food. Failure to observe due diligence may come at a significant cost in the long term.

Think ST Solutions helps protect and grow food businesses (aged care, hospitals, food service operations) through innovation and risk mitigation strategies. Want further information or advice?
Contact Andrew Thomson: info@thinkststsolutions.com.au