Behaviour-based systems for measuring food safety culture

Many organisations are beginning to realise that despite investment in food safety training, system implementation and auditing, something is still missing. This ‘something’ is the assessment of their food safety culture, which until now has been very difficult to measure.

Behaviour-based systems for measuring food safety complements the normal risk-based, system and process checks, as it offers insight into what employees really think and understand about food safety.

Working with our partners, Taylor Shannon International (TSI), an industry leader in the field of food safety, management, education and organisational culture, we have developed BRCGS Food Safety Culture Excellence (FSCE), an assessment of food safety culture, converting what is often a broad or blurry concept into a measurable score and analysis which, if repeated annually, provides a baseline with which to compare the success of ongoing investments and changes.

BRCGS' Food Safety Culture Excellence is setting new standards for the food industry. The assessment is a unique solution for the measurement, analysis and improvement of organisational culture. FSCE is available to be purchased directly from BRCGS via the BRCGS Bookshop. 

Culture is perceived as an imprecise concept and very difficult to identify. Because of this, assessing cultural strengths and weaknesses is hard to achieve. The FSCE assessment meets this challenge: it quantifies culture in an accurate, meaningful and easy-to-understand way. Highlighting an organisations strengths and weaknesses enables targeted, focused improvements that were not possible before.

The FSCE assessment will also help to measure the return on investment of training and other employee development initiatives.

The BRCGS Food Safety Culture Excellence assessment is the result of over 19 years of academic research and industry experience. It's used by food clients of all types, including manufacturing, retail and food service, around the world to understand and improve their food safety and quality culture.

BRCGS' Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8, published in August 2018, is the first Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognised global certification programme that now requires a manufacturing site to have a clear plan for the development and continuing improvement of a food safety and quality culture. The FSCE assessment is fully aligned and consistent with the GFSI food safety culture position paper.

The Food Safety Culture Excellence assessment is available to purchase from the BRCGs Bookshop in 51 languages. you can find A list of available languages here

The BRCGS Food Safety Culture Excellence assessment is based on the following structure:

The assessment process - 4 simple steps


1. Preparation

The assessment process starts with the registration of one or more sites. Once registered, the site contact(s) will receive a confirmation email including details of how to launch the assessment, including communications posters, implementation guidelines and response targets. They also receive the link to their assessment. Then the site is ready to go!

2. Assessment

Across the company, employees can complete the survey anonymously on computers, tablets or mobile phones. After selecting their preferred language, it takes around 15-20 minutes to complete. The site contact receives weekly progress updates so can see when they reach their minimum response targets; they can then request for the survey to be closed when they are happy with their uptake. Then the data is processed and the report is published.

3. Reporting

The assessment generates a lot of valuable data; this data is distilled into a PDF report which is uploaded to the BRCGS Directory after the assessment is complete. The report contains an overall score, plus scoring for 4 Categories and 20 Dimensions. It also provides benchmarking against industry and product category averages, as well as details of low and high scoring questions, and perceived barriers and positives of food safety culture. Sites can quickly identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.

Below is shown a report example; or download the PDF of the report

4. Improvement

Once the site has received the report and reviewed their scores, they can identify next steps for driving improvement. The PDF report provides general guidance on how to take steps to address cultural improvement. Sites are also invited to join the Culture Excellence LinkedIn Group to view webinars and ask questions of the Culture Excellence team. It is recommended to repeat the assessment yearly to track the improvements achieved.

Some key features of the Food Safety Culture Excellence assessment tool are:

  • The survey can be completed at any time; it doesn't have to be completed during your audit.
  • Complete anonymity.
  • It's taken by a representative sample of employees from all hierarchical levels and sites.
  • It has a carefully constructed range and balance of questions.
  • It's designed from the psychological perspective of the 'defended subject' to elicit the greatest level of relevance and honesty.
  • It's translated into 48 languages.
  • It has specific questions based on employee level.


If you have any queries about the BRCGS Food Safety Culture Excellence assessment, or you have any questions, comments or requests, the BRCGS Technical team are here to help. Please contact us and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

The Food Safety Culture Excellence assessment is available to purchase from the
BRCGS Bookshop.