Review: Hygiene for Management

At Highfield, we’re always happy to receive reviews of our products, and are thrilled to hear what our customers think of the training materials we produce.

Recently we received a thorough review of the 19th Edition of Hygiene for Management from the Food Safety Authority Ireland.

Hygiene for Management – A textbook for food safety courses
19th Edition 2017
Richard A Sprenger DMS, FCIEH, FREHIS, FSOFHT
Published by Highfield Products Limited
ISBN 978-1-910964-44-6

A Standard Reference for Food Safety Standards

Our information age is driven by the expectation of an instant response to any question. Where once the 20 volume encyclopaedia ruled, websites, blogs, electronic journals, social media and voice activated and responsive personal assistants now dominate. Whatever the question, the answer can surely be found in the latest app on your smartphone.  The idea of a textbook or a reference book seems outdated. Not so.  First published in 1985 and constantly revised and updated Hygiene for Management graces our shelves now in its 19th edition.  Richard Sprenger continues to produce a standard reference for food safety courses, a useful companion for those in food business for whom a practical knowledge of food safety is an essential part of daily life.

Richard Sprenger is a well-known and respected food safety professional with extensive experience and a very successful track record particularly in food safety training. His latest work is a culmination of all of that experience, setting down on paper a practical compendium of information and advice in a useful format. The book is in essence a textbook which continues to withstand the test of time. Like any reference, it is designed to be used in finding specific items of information than for cover to cover reading. Although, for the student new to food safety, reading the book from start to finish will provide a thorough mix of information which will provide a solid grounding for those engaged in managing or running a food operation.

Food safety is not a commercial advantage, but certainly a lack of it or a lack of appreciation of its significance by management and staff will place any business in peril.  Despite the sophistication of the modern age, the food industry still suffers from scares and disasters minor and major, all of which are avoidable though the application of basic hygiene, good design and technology, some science,  legal compliance, training and management and preventative techniques. Sprenger’s book lays out the essential knowledge for managers in the food sector if they are to fulfil the principal roles of management which for food or other sectors is the same– understanding the nature of their business, planning, leading, organising and controlling.

Hygiene for Management is divided into 14 chapters, two appendices and a useful glossary of terms which are highlighted in colour throughout the text as an easy reminder for the reader.

At the heart of food safety is the knowledge that sometimes food can do harm to people and therefore steps need to be taken to eliminate or mitigate the harm.   A knowledge of the potential harm is therefore a good place to start. The book takes the reader through the chemical, biological, physical and allergenic hazards and the changing nature of food poisoning.  Another chapter deals with food microbiology and food poisoning and another with pest control.

Most mitigating or preventative approaches to food safety begin with so called prerequisite programmes – premises design and construction, equipment design and maintenance. A chapter each is devoted to these topics. All chapters are illustrated by drawings and photographs and useful summary tables.  The language style is direct and to the point.  Cleaning and disinfection are given ample treatment, again in direct manner drawing clear distinctions, covering many examples with commentary on their application and effectiveness. There is a straightforward chapter on personal hygiene, good practice and exclusion policies.

Given Sprenger’s wide experience in training and training methods it is no surprise that emphasis is placed on its importance; practical advice given on communication, training options and how to make training effective and reinforced.

All modern food businesses have food safety systems based on HACCP principles. This too gets the Sprenger direct treatment and explanation. Alternatives to HACCP are also discussed. The chapter is enough to give the student a reasonable understanding of the principles and their application. As with all learning, of course, the textbook knowledge has to be supplemented by doing. Nevertheless, the information at least will provide managers with an appreciation of the preventative and proactive approaches to eliminating or mitigating against harm.

Legal compliance is an unavoidable feature of all approaches to food safety. Knowledge of and adherence to legal obligations is something every food business has to manage. The book provides a sort of whistle-stop tour of the main legal obligations on safety, hygiene and labelling. It is largely based in EU and UK law and enforcement practices, which could be said to limit its usefulness. In a chapter this size, however, it is not really possible to do little more than to signpost the main issues.  With the approach of Brexit, it will be interesting to see how this chapter and other legal references evolve in the next edition.

A brief outline description is given of third party food safety standards such as those of the BRC and the GFSI, the subject of much debate at international level today.  Such business-to-business standards are, in reality, often of more significance for commercial survival, than legal obligations. Some mention is included on traceability and the increasingly important subject of food fraud. A short appendix on the types of food processing effectively completes the volume.

Needless to say, when preparing a textbook, the difficulty is not in deciding what to include, but rather what to omit.  The tricky area of food additives would be worth including, as would the principles of the rules governing food contaminants and the complex rules on microbiological criteria. Mention could also be made of compositional standards and of course an entire book could be easily devoted to labelling, country of origin and provenance, health claims and nutritional labelling. For the food safety enthusiast, there is an unending curriculum to study.

In fairness, Hygiene for Management does what it sets out to do – provide good reference material for the manager and the ab initio food safety student. The sustainability of a food business is dependent on good standards of food safety. The survival of the textbook for 35 years is recommendation enough in itself and a clear indication of the popularity of Sprenger’s teaching craft and training ability.

Raymond Ellard
Raymond Ellard is a Director of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland

If you’re a Highfield customer with thoughts on our product range, or if you’d like to provide feedback or a review, contact us today on shughes@highfield.co.uk  

Acrylamide in food: getting to grips with new legislation

Acrylamide is a word that has been popping up in the news a lot of late. And if you are involved in any element of food safety, either as an industry professional or a trainer, it’s a word you’re going to be hearing a lot more.

This April saw the European Union (EU) pass legislation to limit the amount of acrylamide allowed in packaged foods for the first time. The legislation also compels manufacturers to actively reduce the level of acrylamide in their finished products.

The move came after a number of high-profile stories in the UK press concerning the use of acrylamide in food. But what is it? And how can food safety professionals stay on the right side of the new legislation?

What is acrylamide?
Acrylamide is a chemical that naturally forms in starchy food products during every-day, high- temperature cooking, such as frying, baking and roasting, and industrial processing at 120°C and above.  It mainly forms from sugars and amino acids that are naturally present in many foods. Fried products such as chips and crisps contain the most acrylamide, while toasted bread can contain ten times as much as untoasted bread. The most important food groups contributing to exposure are fried potato products, coffee, biscuits, crackers and crisp breads, and soft bread.

Acrylamide is a known carcinogen and can pose a health risk, particularly to children who are more likely to have cereal and potato-based snacks in their diets. However, possible harmful effects of it on the nervous system, pre and post-natal development and male reproduction were not considered to be a concern, based on current levels of dietary exposure.

The new legislation
The new legislation was introduced on 11 April 2018. Previously, efforts to reduce acrylamide in food had been voluntary. However, the new legislation sets a benchmark level of acrylamide for various food products, which go from 350 micrograms (μg) of acrylamide per kilogram for biscuits and cookies, 750μg per kilogram for potato crisps, and 850μg per kilogram for instant soluble coffee. Foods aimed at children such as rusks and baby food have considerably lower benchmark levels.

Facts for trainers and food business operators
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has already published guidelines that will be of use to trainers and food business operators.

General advice includes:

• be aware of acrylamide as a food safety hazard and have a general understanding of how acrylamide is formed in the food they produce
• take the necessary steps to mitigate acrylamide formation in the food they produce; adopting the relevant measures as part of their food safety management procedures
• undertake representative sampling and analysis where appropriate to monitor the levels of acrylamide in their products as part of their assessment of the mitigation measures
• keep appropriate records of the mitigation measures undertaken, together with sampling plans and the results of any testing

Trainers should keep an eye out for updates by the Food Standards Agency on the regulatory requirements. In the meantime, further guidance can be found via the links below:

http://www.bha.org.uk/interim-acrylamide-guidance/

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/corporate_publications/files/acrylamide150604.pdf

https://www.food.gov.uk/science/acrylamide-0

 

We’re running the London Marathon for VICTA!

The Highfield team will be running the London Marathon again this year to raise money for VICTA.

And Highfield MD Chris Sprenger will be running the entire distance (we hope!) dressed as a ZombieGerm! 

To find out more, click on the video below. Or if you’d like to donate, go to Team ZombieGerm’s Virgin Money Giving page.

VICTA (Visually Impaired Children Taking Action) works to provide equipment, services and events that help blind and visually impaired children and young people develop socially, emotionally and educationally, as well as offering their parents a vital network of support and information. It has been Highfield’s chosen charity since 2013, with tens of thousands of pounds raised to date.  

For more information on VICTA click here.

Highfield approved for onboard and station team member end-point assessment

It’s been a busy month for approvals. But coming hot on the heels of aviation and business administration, we’re delighted to announce we’ve been approved to deliver end-point assessment for another passenger transport standard.

Highfield Qualifications has been approved by the government to provide end-point assessment for Passenger Transport – Onboard and Station Team Member with immediate effect. This brings to eight the total number of standards we’re approved for in the transport and logistics sector.

If you are an employer or provider in this sector and are interested in hearing more about the services we can provide around assessment for this standard, just drop us a line at info@highfieldassessment.com Or you call us on 0845 2260350/01302 363 277, where one of our friendly team members will be happy to talk you through the options right for you and your learners.

Highfield Qualifications is recognised as an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and sits on the Register of End Point Assessment Organisations.

EPA services are offered through our Highfield Assessment brand.

Highfield approved for aviation end-point assessment

aviation end-point assessmentWe’re excited to confirm that Highfield has been approved to deliver end-point assessment (EPA) for aviation.

The standards we’ve been approved for are Aviation Ground Operative, Aviation Ground Specialist and Aviation Operations Manager, which means Highfield will be offering aviation employers a full range of assessment services to help them achieve the most of their apprenticeship levy payments.

The introduction of the apprenticeship levy from 2017 means larger employers are obliged to pay into a central fund that must be used for apprenticeship training, while smaller employers can claim 90 percent of their costs from the government.

The changes also mean new apprenticeship standards like those in the aviation sector now use EPA instead of continuous assessment, requiring individual apprentices to have their work and competence assessed towards the end of their learning against criteria established by groups of employers known as ‘trailblazers’.

Highfield Qualifications is recognised as an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and sits on the Register of End Point Assessment Organisations.

EPA services are offered through our Highfield Assessment brand.

You can also contact Highfield at info@highfieldassessment.com or by calling 0845 2260350/01302 363277.

Highfield approved for business administrator end-point assessment

We’re delighted to announce that Highfield has been approved to deliver end-point assessment (EPA) for business administration.

Highfield Qualifications has been approved by the government to provide end-point assessment (EPA) for the new business administrator standard, and will be offering employers a full range of assessment services to help them achieve the most of their apprenticeship levy payments.

The introduction of the apprenticeship levy from 2017 means larger employers are obliged to pay into a central fund that must be used for apprenticeship training, while smaller employers can claim 90 percent of their costs from the government.

The changes also mean new apprenticeship standards like those for business administrator now use EPA instead of continuous assessment, requiring individual apprentices to have their work and competence assessed towards the end of their learning against criteria established by groups of employers known as ‘trailblazers’.

Highfield Qualifications is recognised as an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and sits on the Register of End Point Assessment Organisations.

EPA services are offered through our Highfield Assessment brand.

You can also contact Highfield at info@highfieldassessment.com or by calling 0845 2260350/01302 363277.

Everything you need to know about our new health and social care qualifications in just a minute and a half

As you are probably aware, we at Highfield Qualifications have launched a new range of 13 health and social care qualifications to support learners in roles within the healthcare, adult care and other related environments.

For more info, go to our health and social care section. 

New retail qualifications for team leaders and managers

New Retail QualificationsNew qualifications that will train the next generation of retail team leaders and managers have been launched by Highfield Qualifications.

The qualifications – the Highfield Level 3 Diploma for Retail Team Leaders (RQF) and the Highfield Level 4 Diploma for Retail Managers (RQF) – have been developed to support learners completing the relevant retail apprenticeship standards and can be used to assess learners for end-point assessment readiness.

Both qualifications cover the knowledge and skills of the relevant standard. The level 3 diploma provides learners with knowledge and understanding of key areas such as understanding customer profiles and business requirements, brand standards, business objectives, market position and maximising performance.

Likewise, the level 4 diploma helps learners to understand more on the key drivers of the customer journey, the recruitment and retainment of staff, product ranges, brand development and promotions and trends.

For more information, go to https://www.highfieldqualifications.com/qualifications/apprenticeships/retail

Speak to us today about how we can help you, either by contacting your dedicated account manager, emailing us at sales@highfield.co.uk or calling us on 0845 2260350/01302 363277

New Level 4 HACCP for Management qualification

Level 4 HACCP

Highfield has launched a new qualification for learners working at management level within both food manufacturing and catering environments.

The Highfield Level 4 Award in HACCP for Management (CODEX Principles) (RQF) has been designed to assist those already working as managers in food manufacturing and catering, quality assurance staff and HACCP personnel.

It is also useful for trainers, auditors, enforcers and other food safety professionals looking to improve their skills and knowledge.

Key topics covered include the importance of CODEX-based HACCP food safety management procedures, and how to manage, develop and evaluate them.

The qualification also contains a new style of written examination which contains 2 sections, each with a mandatory pass mark of 60 percent. In section A, learners need to answer all of the short-answer questions, while in section B, leaners select 2 out of 3 questions.

This qualification will eventually replace the Highfield Level 4 Award in HACCP Management for Food Manufacturing (RQF). Centres will have a transition period of 3 months, however, once this has transpired, Highfield will only accept registrations on the  Highfield Level 4 Award in HACCP for Management (CODEX Principles).

For more information, go to https://www.highfieldqualifications.com/qualifications/compliance/haccp/L4CODEXHACCP

You can also speak to us today about how we can help you, either by contacting your dedicated account manager, emailing us at sales@highfield.co.uk or calling us on 0845 2260350/01302 363277

New range of qualifications for the health and social care sector

A new range of qualifications that will bring clarity and structure to the training landscape in the health and social care sector has been launched by Highfield Qualifications.

The 13 new qualifications, which sit on Ofqual’s Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), will support learners in roles within the healthcare, adult care and other related environments.

Areas covered include principles of care planning, safeguarding and dignity in adult care, prevention and control of infection, and nutrition and health principles. Also covered are safe handling of medication, understanding diabetes, autism, challenging behaviour and mental health problems.

The qualifications are designed to support providers and employers looking to make the most of their European Social Fund (ESF) allocation and Adult Education Budget (AEB), as well as local education authorities with budgets covering health and social care.

Jason Sprenger, Highfield chief executive, said, ‘The 13 new qualifications will provide specific coverage of key areas that are vital to the sector. They also provide a clarity and structure to the training in health and social care that has long been needed and will make it easier for employers looking to recruit, or for existing staff to upskill in specialist areas.

Most importantly, the new qualifications will also allow providers and employers to make full use of the ESF and AEB, providing the high-quality training needed in the sector’. 

A summary of all the qualifications can be found at https://www.highfieldqualifications.com/qualifications/compliance/healthsocialcare

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