PurposeThe ever-widening competitive global markets demand food business to demonstrate safe food supplies across the world. The causes of food borne illness are complex to determine and require a careful evaluation of all stages of food supply chain and food safety practices. The purpose of this paper is to systematically investigate the factors responsible for the assessment of food supply chain and evaluation of food safety system in India.Design/methodology/approachThe study utilizes a combination of qualitative and quantitative approach by exploring expert’s opinion systematically using a semi-structured interview followed by careful grouping of responses using the grounded theory approach to build the research theme. The prioritization of the critical factors is carried out using Pareto analysis. The methodological review was carried out to identify factors and categorize them based on their impact on hierarchical logical relationship using total interpretive structural modeling approach to determine the enablers.FindingsThis paper attempts to deliver an inimitable list of seven vital factors for the effective design of evaluation system for food safety practices. The study provides a careful insight on the issue pertaining to designing of assessment system including competence building for assessor and availability of well-defined technical protocol. The recommendation for developing a robust food safety inspection system by implementing stricter regulation, enhancing competence and design initiatives is provided.Originality/valueThe study provides a unique list of factors for the assessment of food safety practices and develops the relationship. Food safety assessment is an integral part of food safety study which is systematically explored and conceptualized in this paper. The study is carried out using the opinion of Indian experts.

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