The third annual survey on the subject found 42% said there had been an increase in the quantity of training and 45% felt the quality had improved.
Less than 15% of the respondents described themselves as “very satisfied” with quality and quantity of training in the 2014 survey.
Campden BRI and Alchemy with BRC, SGS, SQF and TSI questioned food and drink manufacturers and processors to identify the needs, effectiveness and challenges of food safety training in industry.
Training provider and methods
Relevant and current training content was the top factor used to select a training provider, beating cost and delivery methods.
Employee engagement and comprehension of the training was the second most important factor.
Traditional methods such as on-the-job and classroom training are used more commonly.
E-learning and interactive technologies were only used by 35% and 15% respectively and 68% of training records were still held in some kind of paper form; 60% used Excel spreadsheet and just 20% used a learning management system.
Lack of resources and time are cited as the biggest challenges to effective training, said the survey.
This was followed by negative employee attitudes, lack of effective communication, multi-cultural workforce and negative management attitudes.
Nearly 80% of industry professionals identified their biggest training challenge as “scheduling time for training” with verification of effective training in second but 80% of those respondents had the goal of achieving a food safety culture, according to 2014 results.
The companies surveyed ranged in size from under 50 employees to over 1,000 and cover sectors including cereal and baking, dairy, meats, fish and poultry, and packaging.
Topics and assessing effectiveness
Food safety topics covered for employees were led by personal hygiene, GMP/pre-requisite programs, sanitation/cleaning, HACCP, food safety program, allergen program, food defense and food quality program.
Types of training deficiencies during an audit include lack of/late refresher training, lack of understanding by employee, incomplete training records and insufficient training of visitors/subcontractors.
Companies assess understanding of training mostly by successful completion of quiz assessment, record of attendance and n-the-job review/questioning, according to the survey.
It found benefits from effective employee training were improved food safety culture, improved product quality/fewer mistakes, fewer food safety incidents and reduction of customer complaints.
The group behind the survey said results are an excellent way for food manufacturers and processors to benchmark performance against competitors and identify opportunities for development.
Bertrand Emond, head of membership and training at Campden BRI, said: “The survey provides us with invaluable information which allows us to respond to the needs of industry and develop solutions to the challenges they face in this area.”