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 15 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 40 languages.

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 design and set-up. We establish how many languages are required and make the survey available for review. You can join a webinar with designated culture champions in which we provide an introduction to the topic and discuss how best to communicate and implement the assessment. Then we're ready to go!

2. Assessment

Across the company, employees receive their anonymous survey via computers and tablets, mobile phones, or even on paper. After selecting their preferred language, it takes around 15-20 minutes to complete. With live tracking of completion numbers, managers can see when they reach their minimum targets and then request for the survey to be closed when they are happy with their uptake. Then the data is accessed and a report can be published.

3. Reporting

The assessment generates a lot of valuable data, and to make this easy to manage we have created an online data platform. Developed by highly experienced software engineers and data specialists, our platform presents a wide variety of data views including the 20 dimensions of culture, highest and lowest scoring questions, positives, barriers, priorities, internal comparisons, hot-spots, and is benchmarked against industry sectors and employee comments.

All views can be filtered (for example, by site, role or department) and managers can be provided with access to different sub-sets of the data based on their role. Below is a report example or download the PDF of the report.

4. Improvement

After the assessment and reporting has been completed, the experts at TSI prepare a summary of the data and host a follow-up webinar with culture champions from across the company. TSI look into the patterns and trends and what this reveals, and they can support the development of action plans. TSI can also provide ongoing support in the form of expert webinars, articles and Q&As, to encourage discussion, sharing and continual learning.

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 40 languages.
  • It has specific questions based on business sector and 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.