Food Safety is shared responsibility

Published on : 6/7/23
  • “Food Safety is a shared responsibility”, says Ashwin Bhosale – Director – HSE & CR, Sodexo India

    • Why is advocating & maintaining food safety so important in your business?

    In our purpose of creating superior everyday experiences, the relevance of advocating food safety at all times is paramount. The fact that Sodexo delivers food services in sensitive environments like schools, hospitals, and remote locations makes the safeguarding of food safety best practices on site extremely essential. The other important factor is regulatory compliance which in turn boosts consumer confidence. Progressively, we have been adapting our services to deliver over and above the guidelines and standards issued by FSSAI which has enabled us to earn EAT Right certifications for most of our sites.

    • Your teams are deployed at client sites. Most often, the infrastructure does not belong to Sodexo. How do you ensure the design & build support your operating requirements?

    Interestingly, this is an area where we carve a clear distinction for ourselves. We work as partners and the journey begins much before the contract is awarded to us. We rope in our Design & Build team from the early stages so that the right kind of infrastructure and safety best practices are deployed from Day 1 of operations. The combined goal is to deliver superior consumer experience with zero incidents and HSE is the starting point. Our clients appreciate this approach.

    • In India, the topic of safety has behavioral continues to be a challenge. How do you overcome this?

    Behavioural intervention is the key to safety management in India. Across Sodexo sites, we always have a uniform and consistent approach to safety. A zero-harm mindset is our focus. This means developing a culture where safe behaviour is defined as your ‘way of life’ – at the workplace and beyond. We do this with several interventions from time-to-time. Induction, training and rewards & recognition are some of the ways to instill a sense of responsibility, accountability and ownership. I personally believe that the leadership team needs to walk the talk and be role models. Our teams look up to us and mirror our behaviour. Consequence management is another area we focus on to drive hard messaging on safe behaviours.

    • What role do regulatory compliance and mandatory certifications play in establishing or elevating food safety standards?

    Regulatory compliance helps reinforce basic standards & practices in business which are sacrosanct but at times not adopted or implemented voluntarily. These are guidelines which help small/local businesses with limited know-how get clarity on the prerequisite safety procedures. Licensing and inspections help in conformance to these standards. Besides, these enable the regulator to weed out malpractices, adulteration, and sub-standard food products from the market to ensure consumer safety.

    At Sodexo, under the aegis of our Stop Hunger Trust initiative - to support the growth of local women SMEs as entrepreneurs, our Supply Chain and HSE departments handhold the vendor partners in the best practices required to be compliant and thus offer business growth opportunities and sustainable livelihoods while maintaining the highest safety standards required for safe business operations.

    • What best practices set Sodexo apart from other food service providers?

    At Sodexo, safety is a value. There is an unwavering support and commitment coming from the leadership team. Our people managers take complete ownership of the topic and invest time in devising, deploying, and reviewing the progress made on food safety challenges continuously and ensure training & audit upskilling and introduction of best practices. We also engage in uplifting our partner ecosystem by creating awareness and providing adequate technical support for them to gain a perfect understanding around internationally accepted food safety standards & best practices. It is a win-win situation for both our suppliers and us, as an organization. At the end, food safety is a collective responsibility, and we own the topic from farm-to-fork.

    We are currently in the process of implementing the use of AI based cameras across our kitchens that auto detect process deviations and trigger escalations to the senior management for helping us drive the right kind of food safety behaviours.

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