• On December 12, the FDA published a systematic review of the scientific literature on food safety culture (FSC) as part of the Agency’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint. As our readers know, the FDA launched the blueprint in July 2020 as a means to outline the Agency’s plan to create a safer food system over the next decade. The FDA commissioned the systematic literature review to produce a synthesis of the published literature to answer three overarching questions:
    1. What is FSC?
    2. How is FSC developed and maintained?
    3. How is FSC assessed?
  • As discussed in the literature review, while FSC is defined in various ways, the most frequently cited definition defined FSC as “the aggregation of the prevailing, relatively constant, learned, shared attitudes, values and beliefs contributing to the hygiene behaviors used within a particular food handling environment (Griffith, Livesey, and Clayton 2010).”
  • The literature review identifies key determinants that contribute to a FSC, such as leadership and communication, and also describes some best practices to promote FSC, including promoting FSC as a necessary and critical business matter for all employees. However, the authors found that there is a gap in the literature about what a strong and effective FSC would look like among general consumers and about how FSC is defined in a regulatory agency. Similarly, the literature does not take into account employees’ diverse political, familial, racial, and other cultural identities or how these identities may influence FSC.
  • The FDA intends to use this research to inform its continued efforts in support of food safety culture and as a means to implement effective food safety management.