This year, Dairysafe announced a new award available to South Australian dairy processors, the Dairysafe Food Safety Culture Award.

The award, which recognises businesses that have integrated food safety into their business culture, was presented to Bega Dairy and Drinks at the 2021 SA Dairy Awards Gala Dinner in August. Bega received a $5,000 education, training and development grant.

“Dairysafe places significant emphasis on food safety culture because we know it’s good for business and helps to deliver safe, high-quality dairy products. Businesses with a mature food safety culture should be recognised as champion dairy businesses,” said Dairysafe Chair, Roseanne Healy.

“One of Dairysafe’s strategic priorities is to lead the South Australian dairy community to embrace a food safety culture, and this award will do a lot to bring food safety culture to the attention of SA processors.”

Roseanne Healy, Gabrielle Liston from Bega Dairy and Drinks and Mel Jackson.

Food safety standards are a moral and legal obligation for all food businesses. The public has an expectation they will be provided with safe food every time, and when that isn’t the case, it can lead to business disruption and potentially damage brands.

Food safety culture occurs where a business takes on more than the standard obligations. It requires a business to take extra steps to prioritise food safety among its people through training and development, and in the vision promoted by the business. The attitude within the business is demonstrated by staff values, the policies, rules and procedures and, most importantly, communication throughout the company.

“The value of food safety culture comes from a focus on skills, knowledge, values, management commitment and communication which drives sustainable and resilient dairy processing businesses, supports business confidence and favours innovation and growth,” Ms Healy said.

Entrants for the award demonstrated, through management, staff and supplier behaviour, that all aspects of their business have a commitment to food safety, and they consistently show it in what they do every day.

“The inaugural 2021 Food Safety Culture Award received significant interest from dairy businesses – among them some well-known artisan producers, illustrating that food safety culture does not necessarily reside in big business,” Ms Healy said.

This year’s finalists in the Dairysafe Food Safety Culture Award were The Union Dairy Company, Obela Fresh Dips and Spreads, and Bega Dairy and Drinks.

Bega Dairy and Drinks

Bega Dairy and Drinks operates a large facility at Salisbury producing white and flavoured milk. The business has a focus on the safety of people, safety and quality of products, and the quality of customer service.

The Bega Dairy and Drinks nomination demonstrated a mature food safety culture where all team members actively contribute to the provision of safe and quality products. The culture is dynamic and constantly evolving, and values are demonstrated and upheld by all team members, with active communication among all teams.

The selection panel found Bega Dairy and Drink’s food safety culture is well developed, mature and internalised in most cultural dimensions.

We’ll share more about Bega’s food safety program in the February 2022 e-news.