Food safety training in RTE food production systems

Identification of determinants of effective food safety training in moderate and high-risk RTE food production systems.

PhD fellow: Mark Swaison

The increasing incidence of food poisoning outbreaks linked to Listeria and persistence of outbreaks linked to other pathogens over the past 10 years foods suggests that current safety control systems and procedures could be further developed to support the consistent assurance of product safety in the Ready-To-Eat (RTE) chilled foods sector. RTE companies put much effort in implementing control measures as part of their food safety management system, however recalls and epidemiological data indicate that there may be inadequacies in the competencies of factory staff and shortfalls in knowledge of quality / technical management which could contribute to inadequate design and execution of control measures, lack of procedure compliance, inadequate verification activities, etc. Although much research on listeria contamination is available, fewer studies apply a systems approach taking into account both technological and managerial/chain/governance factors (regulations, standards, enforcement practices, competencies, etc.) that can influence the effectiveness of current listeria control.

To gain an insight into the major technological and people-related causes for loss of specifically L. monocytogenes control in Chilled RTE supply chain networks. The specific aim of the MSc project is to gain a deeper understanding in critical determinants of food safety training for different target groups (e.g. Factory operators, QA Managers etc.) by performing a literature review and developing an analytical framework. This framework will be used to systematically analyse the current situation with respect to employee requirements, training features and effect of training on behavioural changes (improvement of compliance to procedure, increasing awareness etc.). The data collection will be focused on UK companies producing moderate to high-risk RTE foods.