Lone Jespersen, Ph.D., Founder and Principal of food safety culture consultancy Cultivate, has dedicated the last 15 years of her life to bettering food manufacturing operations and studying how culture affects food safety performance. She holds a Ph.D. in Culture Enabled Food Safety and has created a network of worldwide collaborators within the food supply chain. After 11 years with Maple Leaf Foods—including an uphill battle to regain consumer trust following the 2008 tragedy that killed 23 people—Dr. Jespersen’s life purpose shifted. At the time, she was in charge of food safety and operations learning strategies. After much introspection, questioning, and scrutiny, Dr. Jespersen led the relaunch and execution of Maple Leaf Foods' food safety and operations learning strategies, transforming the company’s food safety culture from the inside out.

Carol Wallace, Ph.D., is a Professor of Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS), Co-Director of the Nutritional Sciences and Applied Food Safety Studies Group, and the Research Lead for the School of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the UK. Dr. Wallace holds a Ph.D. from UCLan and a B.Sc. degree in Microbiology from the University of Glasgow. Her research interests include food safety performance from farm to fork, in particular Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system effectiveness and food safety culture, causal factors in food outbreaks and incidents, and controlling food safety risk in business and the home. Dr. Wallace was instrumental in setting up the Salus Food Safety Culture Science Group, an academic network to explore and share knowledge about the emergent food safety culture field, in 2015, and she serves as its current Chair. She regularly presents at and organizes conference symposia in the areas of food safety management and culture. Dr. Wallace is also widely published in the field of food safety and is an author and co-author of several best-selling textbooks guiding industry on HACCP and FSMS.

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Dr. Jespersen and Dr. Wallace [34:58] about:

  • Why the prevalent mindset around food safety and HACCP within organizations leads to 37 percent of frontline employees following protocols improperly, and how change management can be leveraged to individualize food safety
  • The definition of “nudging,” its role in incrementally improving an organization’s food safety culture over time, and examples of nudging in action
  • How collaboration between academics and industry can elevate the concept of food safety culture through scientific validation
  • Strategies for achieving buy-in from leadership regarding food safety culture
  • The importance of enhancing visibility, creating accountability, and encouraging an atmosphere of teamwork in a food business when nudging improvements to food safety culture, and how such goals can be achieved
  • How a company can begin influencing and monitoring frontline employee behavior to improve food safety culture by tapping into managers
  • How companies can implement and emphasize reward and recognition to improve food safety culture
  • The importance of promoting a culture that transcends the technical aspects of food safety.

This episode of Food Safety Matters also features an interview [24:34] with Zach Ducheneaux, who was appointed Administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (USDA’s FSA) in February 2021. Zach discusses FSA’s Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program, providing specifics on assistance eligibility, types of expenses covered by reimbursements, and recommended food safety certifications.

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