A positive food safety culture that prioritises people in the business is crucial for ensuring food safety, and is indispensable for achieving greater investment returns, improving business performance, reducing costs associated with poor quality, and enhancing overall efficiency.

This is why Dairysafe is leading the South Australian dairy community to embrace a food safety culture: because it’s good for business and it delivers safe, high-quality dairy products.

“A key strategy in our campaign to drive food safety culture is the Dairysafe Food Safety Culture Award, which is presented each year at the SA Dairy Awards,” said Geoff Raven, CEO of Dairysafe.

“The 2024 Food Safety Culture Award seeks to acknowledge a business that has made remarkable progress in improving its culture. The award will consider the starting point of the culture journey, the participation of everyone in the business, the successes and challenges faced during the process, the benefits gained, the continuing improvement, and the company’s future plans and focus.”

2024 will be the fourth year of the Dairysafe Food Safety Culture Award, with past winners being Bega Dairy & Drinks in 2021, the Fleurieu Milk Company in 2022, and in 2023, Udder Delights Australia.

“These companies have all been on a positive food safety journey, taking steps toward embedding a strong culture of food safety in their teams. Food safety culture is very much an evolution rather than an installation of a formal step by step system,” Geoff said.

Dairy processors can soon nominate for the 2024 Dairysafe Food Safety Culture Award, to be presented at the 2024 SA Dairy Awards.

The award provides a business with an opportunity to shine a light on their current practices and analyse how they are building a successful culture.

Dairysafe has reviewed the awards process to prepare for the 2024 award. “We started by talking to previous nominees, identifying what worked well and identifying potential improvements. There are a couple of good enhancements that will help this year’s nominees,” Geoff said.

In 2024, nominees will:

  • Have an opportunity to participate in a webinar that will provide helpful guidance on how to complete the nomination form.
  • Be supplied with instructions that offer clarity on what Dairysafe is looking for in a nomination.
  • Have an opportunity to discuss their nomination with past winners.
  • Be briefed on the expectations of the interview process (for shortlisted nominees), e.g., evidence required, site visits.
  • Be directed to useful resources.

The 2024 nomination form is aligned to the GFSI Food Safety Culture model, which describes the five dimensions and critical components of a food safety culture. And there is an Information Pack that provides nominees with advice and direction on how to complete their nomination form.

The finalists and winner will be presented at the 2024 DIAA SA Dairy Awards Gala Dinner later this year. The winner will receive a $5,000 education, training, and development grant.

Nomination forms for the 2024 Award will be sent directly to all accredited dairy processors in March 2024. For more on food safety culture, visit our website where you’ll find useful information and links.

Why a food safety culture, and what are the benefits?

Business risk

One of the most significant advantages of having a robust food safety culture is that it can mitigate the risk of your product not meeting specifications, containing harmful contaminants, and/or causing a foodborne illness outbreak. A business that fosters awareness, accountability, and responsibility can effectively identify, control, and monitor food safety hazards. This approach motivates employees to report and rectify any issues, follow established protocols and standards, and strive for continuous improvement.

Customer trust and loyalty

Creating a positive food safety culture can contribute to enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty, which is vital for any business. Customers expect safe and high-quality food products and services, and they are more likely to trust and recommend businesses that prioritise food safety.

A strong food safety culture that values transparency, effective communication, and feedback can help a business establish trust and credibility with customers and stakeholders. This can differentiate a business from its competitors and help it gain a larger market share.

Legal responsibilities

It is important for businesses to have a strong food safety culture that goes beyond complying with legal regulations and standards. Such a culture should aim for excellence in food safety and be considered good business risk management.

Establishing systems, practices, and behaviours that promote and build a strong food safety culture is crucial in ensuring compliance with legal responsibilities. This can also lead to positive outcomes such as obtaining certifications and accreditations, which can help businesses reach a broader market, enhance their reputation, and increase competitiveness.

Operational efficiencies and profitability

Improving food safety culture can have a positive impact on a business’s profitability and operational efficiency. It can encourage teamwork, innovation, and collaboration that can lead to better performance, resource management, and processes. One of the significant benefits of having a strong food safety culture is the potential savings from waste reduction and fewer errors. This can result in increased productivity, quality, and profitability. Additionally, a food safety culture that promotes learning, training, and development can help enhance the skills, knowledge, and capabilities of employees, creating a positive and motivated work environment, that can also aid staff retention.

The changing market

Robust food safety culture is essential for businesses to adapt to the changing needs and expectations of customers, regulators, and the market. By placing safety and quality as the top priority, a business can quickly respond to new requirements and ensure that its products consistently meet changing standards and customer expectations. Being adaptable not only enhances food safety outcomes but also strengthens the ability to meet market demands, fostering trust and loyalty among customers.

Food production is a dynamic and evolving process that requires constant review and consideration. A business with a proactive food safety culture is open to changes, challenges, and opportunities. They stay up-to-date and informed about the latest trends, technologies, and best practices, which enables them to anticipate and respond to emerging risks, preferences, and demands of their customers and stakeholders.

Business outcomes

A positive food safety culture enhances employee retention, commitment, engagement, business performance, success, and job satisfaction, and is achieved through progressive engagement from leaders and support from everyone across the business.