“Food safety is magical…but it doesn’t happen magically,” declared Walt Disney World’s Manager of Food Safety, Frank Yiannas, when outlining an advanced perspective on food safety management at the 41st Annual Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) Convention in Sydney this week.
There are 5.4 million cases of foodborne diseases and 120 related deaths each in Australia, and the top three sources of outbreak are improper temperature, poor personal hygiene and contaminated equipment.
With the modern food landscape having consumers increasingly removed from food production, it is not surprising that almost half of all outbreaks occur through food retail and restaurants.
Frank Yiannas believes that simply education and training is not enough to address this problem.
“I have found that creating a behaviour-based food safety management system, that incorporates education and training whilst also addressing behaviour, is more effective for long-term change,” he said.
“What we know does not always equal what we do. So when designing food safety training materials, they must be designed with behaviour change in mind” emphasises Yiannas.
“Certainly in a retail environment you will not affect food safety until you address both processes and behaviour,” he says.
In his role at a large global food outlet, Yiannas has proven the key to success was influencing behaviour, not simply imparting knowledge. There he focussed on the high risk of food safety while demonstrating the real consequences through case studies.
Amongst other things, rather than presenting just statistics in education, his case studies put human faces and stories to the numbers. This creates a real experience - an emotional response, which adds impact to the message.
“Say you had a teenager - what would you think would produce more of a behavioural change… his or her school giving ‘sex education’ or ‘sex experience’? It is through experience that behaviour is modified,” he told the AIFST Convention audience.
The AIFST Convention showcases new information and hot topics of interest to service industries such as hospitality, as well as food and packaging manufacturers and their suppliers and food marketers.