Congratulations to our 2022 Food Safety Culture Award finalists, Fleurieu Milk Company, The Union Dairy Company and Beston Pure Foods.
“These companies work hard on developing a food safety culture throughout the business and deserve recognition,” said Geoff Raven, CEO of Dairysafe. “Key features of these dairy business are good communication, investment in innovation, commitment to developing their staff and a culture of continuous improvement.”
WINNER – Fleurieu Milk Company
The Fleurieu Milk Company was created in 2004 by three farming families as a means of sustaining their generational dairy farms for their families into the future by bottling and selling their own milk.
Fleurieu Milk Company is an acknowledged employer of choice in the region and appreciates the important role it maintains in the local community. This is the foundation of company’s approach to food safety culture – it is a ‘whole of organisation’ attitude which, within the business, is supported by significant resourcing to training, technology and tools. The company’s culture extends from their supplying farmers to their distribution networks and retail customers.
The food safety culture journey at Fleurieu Milk Company has been significant, driven throughout the business from top and from bottom. The company has a clear framework for food safety culture in their business, including a strong focus on solution based ideas, training, education, open communication with staff, strong reporting, enhanced technology, utilising data analytics and building on each staff member’s capacity.
“The first step of our evolving food safety culture began with implementing a strategic plan containing risk analysis of people, process, systems, technology, staff training, communication, managing change and leadership,” said Tina Filippidis, Quality Assurance Manager.
Some of the improvements include:
- Staff are incentivised through communication and recognition processes.
- There has been considerable investment in learning, with the in-house digital learner management system being a feature.
- Communication is key and is supported by appropriate tools that include feedback loops.
- Innovation is a feature with a number of systems implemented that support data analysis and performance measurement.
- The ongoing development of FSC is underpinned by strategy.
“The Fleurieu Milk Company is extremely proud and honoured to have won this award and would like to give recognition to their staff and supplying farms. Without their pride, enthusiasm and attention to detail we would not be where we are today,” Tina said.
FINALIST – The Union Dairy Company
The Union Dairy Company (UDC) is a premium dairy ingredients manufacturer based near Penola in the South-East with a head office in Warrnambool. UDC has an annual processing capacity of 300 million litres of raw milk.
The UDC milk powder and cream products plant began production in 2017 and utilises state-of-the-art technologies available for the manufacture of whole milk powder, skim milk powder, anhydrous milk fat and fresh and frozen cream products.
The food safety culture journey at UDC continues to progress, having been finalists in the inaugural Dairysafe Food Safety Culture Award in 2021.
Being a regionally based and relatively young operation, UDC has been faced with an inexperienced workforce and has focussed on communication, innovative training opportunities to build skills, and issues management in supporting their culture journey.
Some of the initiatives established by the company to promote food safety culture include:
- Development of a new issues notification process.
- Monitoring progress via a food safety culture index and key performance measures.
- Introducing alternative staff communication channels throughout the business, including a monthly newsletter, and increased access to production and quality staff on the production floor.
- Introduction of a pilot Certificate III training program and staff reward scheme for training goals.
- Underpinning food safety culture through the company vision and mission, as well as their food safety culture roadmap.
Over the relatively short journey, UDC has seen the focus on food safety culture deliver benefits by way of hygienic work environment, staff equipped with the skills to make better production decisions, improved right-first-time performance indicator, better reporting of food safety issues within the plant, staff identifying issues before they develop into problems and nil recalls or withdrawals.
There is an appreciation at UDC that food safety culture is part of good business and is dependent on the attitudes and actions of people throughout the business.
FINALIST – Beston Pure Foods
Beston Pure Dairies is a proud SA multi award-winning company established in 2015 employing around 300 people. Since 2015, Beston has transformed from a start-up company into a major manufacturer within both South Australia and Australia.
Beston makes premium brands such as Edwards Crossing Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese, Mables cream cheese and Ei8h+ Water, as well as manufacturing lactoferrin, butter and whey powders, from 2 dairy processing facilities in Jervois and Murray Bridge.
Beston sources 90% of its milk (around 30-40% of South Australia’s total milk production) from local SA farmers, with the rest coming from Victorian farmers.
Beston Pure Dairies’ food safety culture journey began in 2020 and they acknowledge these are early days in their culture journey. The journey commenced due to a customer requirement for the business to complete staff culture surveys – now having completed these for the past three years.
The business has directed additional resources to food safety and quality which are positively contributing to the company’s approach to food safety culture.
- Cross-functional GMP audits and enhanced communication on the production floor.
- Enhanced approach to measuring and mapping progress.
- Additional staff training opportunities.
- Supporting the philosophy, ‘what you walk past you condone’.
- Utilising technologies for efficient environmental testing.
- Investing in real-time reporting systems.
- Utilising learnings from other organisations that either supply to or purchase from Beston.
Positive business results attributed to their food safety culture include:
- No food safety recalls.
- Many new staff trained.
- Successfully exporting product to international markets with very strict acceptance standards.
- Successfully supplying product to major Australian organisations in the FMCG markets who have rigorous food safety standards.
- No identification of reportable pathogens from scheduled testing of Beston products.