Performance assessment of food safety management systems in animal-based food companies in view of their context characteristics: A European study

P.A. Luning, K. Kirezieva, G. Hagelaar, J. Rovira, M. Uyttendaele, L. Jacxsens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Recurrently the question arises if efforts in food safety management system (FSMS) have resulted in effective systems in animal-based food production systems. The aim of this study was to gain an insight in the performance of FSMS in European animal-based food production companies in view of their typical context characteristics. Hundred European companies (from Belgium, Spain, The Netherlands, Greece, Italy, and Hungary) varying in company size, and producing different types of fresh and processed animal-derived products (dairy, beef/lamb, poultry, and pork) were assed using a diagnostic instrument. Results indicated that most participating companies adapted adequately their food safety management systems to the riskiness of their context characteristics resulting in rather good safety output scores. Only a small group have overall basic systems and operate in a moderate or moderate-high risk context, which was reflected in lower safety output scores. Companies tend to invest first in the control strategies whereas assurance activities such as verification and validation seem to require more time and effort to achieve advanced levels. Our study demonstrated that also small and medium enterprises managed to have advanced systems, and achieve a good safety output. However, their typical organisational characteristics such as less resources (educated staff, laboratory facilities, time), more restricted formalisation (restricted use of procedures and formal meetings), limited information systems, but more stable workforce, might require more tailored support from government and/or branch organisations to develop towards advanced systems in the case of high-risk products and processes. More in-depth studies to successful SMEs could give insight in best practices to improve FSMS performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-22
JournalFood Control
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • critical control point
  • hazard analysis
  • processing plants
  • united-states
  • microbial-contamination
  • haccp implementation
  • escherichia-coli
  • pasteurized milk
  • quality
  • meat

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