The evolvement of food safety culture assessment: A mixed-methods systematic review

Laís Mariano Zanin, Elke Stedefeldt*, Pieternel A. Luning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Food safety culture (FS-culture) is recognised as an important phenomenon that drives food handlers’ behaviours. Various tools and approaches have been developed to assess FS-culture. Scope and approach: We conducted a mixed-methods systematic review to analyse the evolvement of scientific FS-culture assessment tools, their approaches to quantitative and qualitative data collection, their integration system to accurately interpret FS-culture, the depth of their culture analysis, and the recommendations to improve FS-culture. Searches were conducted in six databases for studies published until November 2020. Included studies investigated FS-culture using quantitative/qualitative/mixed-methods, conceptualised FS-culture elements/dimensions, and made recommendations to improve FS-culture. A mixed-methods synthesis was performed using thematic content analysis. Key findings and conclusions: Of the 264 records, 47 were included. People, communication, commitment, leadership, food safety management systems, risk, and work environment were the most prevalent elements/dimensions used to assess FS-culture; however, there was no standard approach. Questionnaires were used as the main method to assess FS-culture. Less FS-culture assessment tools used both quantitative and qualitative methods, and a few provided an approach for data triangulation to accurately conclude the prevailing FS-culture. Most of the FS-culture tools allowed the visible aspects assessment rather than the deeper layers. The main recommendation to improve FS-culture addressed people by developing specific training. The FS-culture assessment tools evolved, however, most of them do not yet provide an assessment of the deeper layer of culture. Continuous observations and action research combined with other methods may support in gaining insights into the deeper layers underlying the prevailing FS-culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-142
Number of pages18
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Dimensions
  • Elements
  • Food safety culture assessment system
  • Levels of culture
  • Recommendations


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