Food Safety Culture Requirements – A Perspective from Different Standards

Food Safety Culture Requirements – A Perspective from Different Standards

Hello fellow Foodbiters,

Love is in the air!  Our passion for food safety is not only visible in February; the month of LOVE, but it is something we strive to LIVE every day of our life.  We demonstrate this by practicing what we preach, and our objective is to inspire other food safety professionals to become true food safety ambassadors.

This week we have decided to review the Food Safety Culture requirements as defined by the various GFSI standards.  BRCGS was the first standard owner to introduce the concept of a food safety and quality culture and recent updates to the GFSI requirements have triggered other standard owners to align.



GFSI requirements:

Evidence of the senior management’s commitment to establish, implement, maintain and continuously improve the Food Safety Management System shall be provided.  This shall include elements of food safety culture, at a minimum consisting of:

  • Communication
  • Training
  • Feedback from employees
  • Performance measurement and food safety related activities.

BRCGS Food issue 8 requirements:

Clause 1.1.2

The site’s senior management shall define and maintain a clear plan for the development and continuing improvement of a food safety and quality culture.  This shall include:

  • Defined activities involving all sections of the site that have an impact on product safety
  • An action plan indicating how the activities will be undertaken and measured, and the intended timescales
  • A review of the effectiveness of completed activities.

IFS Food version 8 requirement

Clause 1.1.1

The senior management shall develop, implement, and maintain a corporate policy, which shall include, at a minimum:

  • Food safety and product quality
  • Customer focus
  • Food safety culture.

This corporate policy shall be communicated to all employees and shall be broken down into specific objectives for the relevant departments.

Clause 1.4.1 (extract only from this clause of management review)

The senior management shall ensure that the food safety and quality management system is reviewed at least annually, or more frequently if significant changes occur.  Such reviews shall include, at a minimum:  a review of objectives and policies including elements of food safety culture.

FSSC 22000 Version 6

FSSC 22000 Version 6 published a guidance document on food safety culture.  GFSI guiding questions were used to link specific clauses in the ISO 22000:2018 to the 4 categories, e.g., communication, training, feedback from employees and performance measurement on food safety related activities.  Guidance as to how the culture aspect could be assessed for these specific requirements are provided.

Topic Relevant ISO 22000:2018 clauses
Communication 4.1, 4.2, 5.1 d, 5.2.2 a & b, 5.3.1, 6.2, 6.3, 7.4.3, 9.3
Training 7.2 b, 7.3
Feedback from employees 5.3.2, 5.3.3, 7.1.2, 7.3 c, 7.5.1 b
Performance measurement on food safety related activities 6.1.1, 8.9.1, 9.1.2, 9.3.2, 10.2, 10.3


The diverging requirements, especially in terms of the level of detail required for the food safety culture for these standards makes it difficult to implement an effective programme based on standard requirements.  Our advice would be to focus on the specific requirements based on the standard which you have implemented.  Once you have established this as a foundation, you can start to explore improvement opportunities and industry best-practices.

Today we close with the famous Def Leppard lyrics – Love bites, love bleeds…  Listen here:

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