Food Safety Culture Maturity Index [FSCMI]: Presentation and Validation

Patricia AmeLia Tomei, Giuseppe Maria Russo

Abstract


Objective: The literature on Food Safety Culture (FSC) has evolved in the conceptual dimension, but remains incipient regarding the creation of measurement instruments and quantitative evaluation. To fill this gap, this article presents a model that identifies the Food Safety Culture Maturity Index (FSCMI) and validates this instrument.  Methodology: The proposed model of the Food Safety Culture Maturity Index (FSCMI) has nine dimensions that encompass the main constructs of the FSC. For the semantic validation of the model, 15 workshops and 30 interviews were conducted, and to validate the model, research was conducted with participants from two companies in the Food and Beverage sector. For the face validity, specialists were invited to evaluate the consistency of the constructs. The statistical procedure of exploratory factorial analysis (EFA) was used to reduce the set of variables to a smaller number of factors in order to characterize the attribute dimensions of the evaluated object.  Originality: The importance of FSC is based on the organizational literature that identifies the limitations of technical approaches in the production of safety food. A mature culture that clearly translates the meaning of security value favors the understanding of the rules of the game and the internalization of expected behaviors, reducing the need for control and supervision. In addition, a validated FSC evaluation model is presented. Main results: The results of the face validity correlations varied between 79% and 84%, and presented a consensus in most of the constructs. Cronbach's alpha values ​​ranged from 0.695 to 0.844, showing satisfactory internal consistency. The results point to seven factors that explain 70.61% of the data variance: Leadership, Risk Perception, Management System, Communication, Commitment, Pressure at Work and Teamwork. On the other hand, the statistical analyses did not support the variance of two factors identified in the literature: Infrastructure and Responsibility. The instrument was found to be valid, robust and relevant for the advancement of FS analysis and for the FSC measurement of an organization. However, new tests are required for its generalization, with a seven-point interval scale that captures all the variability of the participants' perceptions of the study, and larger and more diverse samples that minimize possible bias due to differences in organizational cultures and subcultures. Theoretical Contributions: The theoretical foundation of the FSCMI, based on its dimensions, indicators and variables, offers us a robust tool to analyze an organization's FSC maturity. For the methodological improvement of the model, we suggest changing the FSCMI to a seven-point scale and future research with stratified samples that allow the evaluation of diverse cultural contexts.

Keywords


Organizational culture; Safety culture; Food safety culture; Maturity in food safety culture

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