Many Canadian companies lump food safety and training costs together, study suggests

Canadian Pizza
March 18, 2016
By Canadian Pizza
Toronto – Safe Food Canada recently announced the findings of its first research project, which looks at the current state of food safety culture in Canada and explores how food businesses invest in food safety training.

This exploratory study is the first of its kind into the level of spending on food safety training and education for food industry professionals, the Safe Food Canada said in a news release.

The company conducts research as one of its four areas of business. The study explored how food businesses invest in food safety training. Factors of interest included actual spending by companies on food safety training, employee job satisfaction, and changes to employee competence and performance.

“Safe Food Canada is primarily focused on ensuring that food employees are trained using competency-based, consistent learning frameworks. This exploratory study points out that SFC can help food organizations by providing valuable information so they can assess the relative payback they get for their investments in training,” Safe Food Canada president and chief executive officer Brian Sterling.

The study indicates training for general employees typically is done onsite, with 65 per cent of companies also providing annual external training sessions.

While the current state of food safety training itself is seen as acceptable, it suggests there is room for improvement on how to measure the change in performance and financial return on investments from training.

Only half of the companies surveyed keep track of their expenditures on food safety training, while 35 per cent either do not keep a record or do not separate food safety expenses from other training costs, the report said.

The majority of participants said they train from 80 to 100 per cent of frontline employees. These people all receive some type of food safety training annually, varying from classroom education to hands-on training.

Maple Leaf Foods is a leading sponsor of Safe Food Canada and serves on the company’s board of directors with other food businesses and academic organizations.

The exploratory study is a first important step towards the goal of modernizing how people learn about food safety, the company said.

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