The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Environmental Health Services (CDC’s EHS) recently released a tool to help restaurant managers asses the food safety cultures at their establishments. The tool is available for download on a new CDC webpage about food safety culture.

The tool enables managers to explore workers’ beliefs about food safety, track progress over time, and observe how practices are strengthening or weakening a restaurant’s food safety culture. The spreadsheet includes:

  • A form to give restaurant workers to complete
  • A scoring tool for restaurant managers
  • A scoring tool with automatic tallying based on workers’ responses
  • And an example of the scoring tool with automatic tallying.

On the food safety culture webpage, CDC also summarized the findings of EHS studies on the topic. For one survey, EHS’ Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net) asked staff from 331 restaurants across eight states and localities what they thought about the food safety cultures at their establishments. The responses revealed four key components of a strong food safety culture in restaurants:

  • Leadership: Managers offer food safety training and policies
  • Manager Commitment: Managers are committed to and prioritize food safety
  • Employee Commitment: Employees are committed to food safety
  • Resources: The restaurant has sufficient resources to support food safety, such as enough soap and sinks for handwashing.

Another EHS-Net study conducted in Southern Nevada found that training promoted a strong food safety culture, along with restaurant managers expressing appreciation for staff and routine two-way communication between managers and staff. Obstacles to strong food safety culture included staff reluctance to talk to managers, short-staffing, and lack of space and resources.