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  The idea of a textbook or a reference book seems outdated.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  

Highfield Chairman at Dubai hospitality conference

Highfield Chairman Richard Sprenger was one of the main speakers at this year’s Vision Conference, held as part of The Hotel Show 2015 at Dubai World Trade Centre.

The conference, which took place from 17 to 19 September 2015 – and is now in its third year – offers the latest insights, trends and market intelligence across the hospitality sector.  Richard spoke to a packed audience of experts and industry leaders on the importance of improving food safety in hotels, and how it can impact on compliance and reputation.

Richard said, ‘The Vision Conference was a great opportunity to talk to the hospitality sector about the importance of food safety, and how it can impact on everything else you do.  Getting food safety wrong can completely ruin a customer’s experience of your business and risk you falling foul of the authorities.  What’s more, damage to reputation through an entirely preventable incident can be incredibly hard to put right’.

For more on the conference, go to www.thehotelshow.com/Content/Vision-Conference

Highfield Chairman Richard Sprenger at Food Chain 2014

Food ChainHighfield Chairman Richard Sprenger recently made an appearance as one of the guest speakers at Food Chain 2014, focussing on the issue of food safety culture.

Held in Doha, Qatar, on 29 and 30 September 2014, the Food Chain conference is now in its seventh year and is becoming increasingly a focal point for food safety experts in the Middle East, with attendance by key government figures and prominent representatives of the top businesses in the region, including HABC MEA.

FoodChain Doha1This year the focus was to further the cause of cold chain infrastructure in the country and its impact on health and well-being, in line with the development ideals of Qatar National Vision 2030, through plenary sessions on food safety-related policies and legislation, presentations (including video presentations), panel discussions, structured networking and cluster discussions.

Richard Sprenger said, ‘The conference is unique because it merges cold chain integrity with topical food safety issues in Doha. We all need to take the opportunity presented in the Food Chain conference in Doha to discuss how we can ensure sustainable improvements that result in developing and maintaining a positive food safety culture’.

HABC MEA holds hazard identification update

HABC MEA has been helping managers involved in construction, health and safety and project management in the Middle East understand more about the importance of identifying hazards in controlling workplace accidents.

Paul Coates, HABC MEA Operations Manager, conducted a 3-hour session on the subject to over 30 delegates from various companies at the Amari Doha Hotel on 8 December 2013.

The seminar was organised by the Vibrant Consultancy WLL, Doha, Qatar, on behalf of a campaign by Arabtec Construction Company – one of the region’s leading construction firms – to raise awareness of hazard identification.

The delegates were welcomed by Mr P. Shaji, Project HSE Manager (Arabtec), who discussed the campaign and emphasised the need for further seminars to create awareness amongst employees.

Throughout the seminar, contributions were made by a number of leading industry figures from the region, included Mr Fadi Al Bashir, Project Manager (Arabtec), who opened the event, and Mr Benjamin, HSE Manager (Turner International LLC Middle East) and Mr H.V. Nair, Project Manager (Gulf Civil Engineering and Construction Company), who both spoke on the topic.

HABC MEA and Arabtec were both thanked for the seminar by Mr Santosh Kumar Pillai, Director of Vibrant Consultancy. Mr Santosh also thanked Highfield HABC MEA and Paul Coates in particular for their ongoing support for making the industry in the region safer for employees.

And finally there was thanks for Mr Jithin Chakkooth, Operations Manager at Vibrant Consultancy, without whom the event would not have happened.

For more information on the work of HABC MEA, go to the website.

Richard Sprenger leads food safety seminar in Bahrain

Highfield Chairman Richard Sprenger recently led a food safety seminar in Bahrain to consider ways in which food safety could be improved, having regard to several world leading initiatives that Highfield and Richard have been involved with.

Hosted by the Leaders institute for Training and Development, the seminar, entitled ‘Food Safety in Bahrain’ was held at the Diplomat Hotel on 19 August 2014, and attracted some of the leading representatives from the food industry as well as Ministry representatives, food safety specialists and practitioners from across the country.

Key topics covered were the latest best practice internationally and in particular, how Bahrain can learn from other nations. Delegates got the chance to share their thoughts and experiences, and discuss the daily challenges they face.

Richard Sprenger said, ‘The seminar was an excellent opportunity to discuss some of the most important food safety issues currently affecting food businesses in Bahrain and why food safety is so important for local consumers and tourism’.

For more information on the work of HABC MEA go to the website.

Press Release: Richard Sprenger leads line-up for food safety conference

Respected food safety expert Richard Sprenger leads a line-up of some of Europe’s foremost food safety authorities at a national conference this November.

Highfield Qualifications – the UK’s leading provider of compliance qualifications – will be holding its conference at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, on 13 November 2014.

And for food safety practitioners, there will be a seminar – sponsored by Marks & SpencerDoncaster Culture and Leisure Trust and ProTrainings.eu– throughout the day, featuring:

Richard Sprenger, HABC Chairman, said, ‘I am delighted that so many respected and authoritative figures will be joining me to speak on the day. The seminar is a must-attend event for anyone with food safety responsibilities, and will cover everything from the role of retailers and improving food safety culture to FSA initiatives and implementing good practice in the hospitality sector’.

The conference is expected to attract an anticipated 600 delegates including blue-chip corporate clients and brand names, leading industry experts and educators and trainers.

The food safety seminar is one of seven that make up the entire conference covering a number of sectors including apprenticeships, fire safety/health and safety, first aid, licensing, pool lifeguarding and security.

Cost per attendee is £135+VAT for HABC Approved Centres and £195+VAT for non-Centres, with discounts available for early and multiple bookings.

For more information on the food safety seminar, click here.

Keynote speech for Highfield Chairman at international conference

food safety conference in BahrainHighfield Group Chairman Richard Sprenger will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Food Safety Conference in Bahrain.

The event, held from 15 to 17 April 2014 and now in its second year, saw delegates from the food and hospitality sectors around the globe descend on the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre for a series of presentations, forums, demonstrations and discussions in food safety.

Delegates also got the chance to attend a number of HABC workshops on its qualifications including the Level 3 Award in Effective Auditing and Inspection Skills, the Level 2 Award in HACCP for Catering, the Level 2 Award in Food Safety for Catering and the Level 2 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work.

It was the second major speech for the Highfield Chairman this year, who in January 2014 had spoken at a seminar in Doha, Qatar about the importance of a ‘person in charge (PIC)’ in implementing good food safety measures – something that has already happened in Dubai with help of HABC.

‘PICs must ensure that food handlers are trained about hygiene before they start work,’ said Richard.  ‘They must also ensure that their food suppliers are registered and approved by appropriate authorities in order to trace the origin of any food contamination’.

For more information on HABC’s work in the Middle East, go to www.highfieldabc.ae/