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Validation of Factors Identified as Influencing Employee Adherence to Practices in Food Safety Systems: a Meat Industry Perspective


It is generally accepted that there are barriers to the effective implementation of HACCP, but little research has been done to show the potential impact of various "people-related" factors on the likelihood of success. Several researchers propose that new ways of viewing issues related to HACCP implementation need to be considered to develop effective ways of overcoming the barriers and suggest behavioural research may make an important contribution to the food safety management field. The proposed research expands on new developments in food quality and safety research. A tool to measure the effectiveness of food quality management systems in the bakery sector in The Netherlands was validated in 2004. In 2006, the model was adapted to provide a theoretical model for food safety systems. The proposed research will adapt this model to include an industry perspective and will be specific to the Ontario meat processing industry.
It is hypothesized that three main factors organizational characteristics, employee characteristics and the production system play a role in employee adherence to HACCP. The study will begin with qualitative interviews with meat industry personnel to determine the applicability of the model for the meat sector. The results will be used as the basis for a quantitative survey that will be administered to personnel employed in a sample of Ontario meat processing plants. Survey data will be used to validate the model for the meat industry. This work will involve collaboration among the University of Guelph, OMAFRA, the Ontario Independent Meat Processors and the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors.

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Expected Impact of Project Outcomes on Food Safety in Ontario:
The primary benefit of the proposed project is the validation of a model that will identify key factors affecting the implementation of HACCP in the meat industry. Validation of these factors will enhance HACCP implementation and enable the development of strategies or best practices for effective HACCP systems to address some of the barriers, thereby contributing to a reduction of the economic and human cost of foodborne illness from microbes in meat. Although the proposed research is focused on HACCP in the meat sector, it may be relevant to other food safety programs, e.g., on-farm food safety, and other food sectors.
<P> For more information, please visit the <a href="; target="_blank">Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Food Safety Research Program</a>.

Wilcock, Anne
University of Guelph
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