The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a systematic review of the scientific literature on food safety culture (FSC) as a foundation for the FDA’s work on food safety culture with industry, consumers and within the agency. A total of 79 articles met eligibility criteria for the review and are included in this analysis. 

The FDA believes that to make dramatic improvements in reducing the burden of foodborne disease more must be done to influence the beliefs, attitudes and the behaviors of people and the actions of organizations. A strong food safety culture is a prerequisite to effective food safety management, it says.  

Promoting FSC across the food system is a key pillar of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint, which was released in 2020. The blueprint outlines a 10-year plan to create a safer food system. The FDA conducted the literature review to better understand the latest science of FSC, including how it is defined, how it is developed and maintained by various organizations, and how it is assessed or measured.  

While food safety culture is defined in various ways in the literature, the review identified the most frequently cited definition of FSC as "the aggregation of the prevailing, relatively constant, learned, shared attitudes, values and beliefs contributing to the hygiene behaviors used within a particular food handling environment." (Griffith, Livesey, and Clayton 2010)

The literature review also identified numerous key determinants that contribute to an FSC, as well as challenges and barriers to establishing and maintaining a strong and effective FSC.

The FDA will use this research to inform its continued efforts in support of food safety culture.