In our latest blog, we asked Prof. John Holah to explain how EHEDG members can share their expertise by getting involved with the drafting of EHEDG’s technical guidelines.
Q: John, please can you explain how EHEDG technical guidelines are produced?
A: EHEDG guidelines are developed by more than 400 active experts in EHEDG’s Working Groups who gather knowledge and best practice from global food and drink manufacturing industries, food equipment manufacturers and academia. The co-authors share their particular knowledge with other experts in order to draft new or update existing EHEDG guidelines on specific topics.
Q: So who and what organisations can help draft EHEDG technical guidance?
A: Anybody who is a member of the EHEDG. In an ideal world, a working group developing a guideline should be a proportionate mixture of equipment manufacturers, equipment users and interested parties and include academics and legislators.
Q: What opportunities exist to become involved?
A: The EHEDG is a broad church and is open to all who have an interest in food safety and hygienic engineering. New members can join as individuals or as part of a company or institute.
Q: On what topics are EHEDG currently looking to draft guidance?
A: Topics must have relevance to the food manufacturing industry. Other associated industries such as pharmaceutical and cosmetics have not been traditionally supported by the EHEDG, although their commitment to hygiene is just as strong. Topics should have an element of hygienic design, be a process (such as cleaning or maintenance) to maintain hygienic design and/or have an engineering bias related to food safety.
Q: What guidance is already being drafted and how could someone get involved with the groups drafting these guidelines?
A: Currently no fewer than 30 Working Groups are drafting or updating guidelines on topics as diverse as air handling, fish processing, cleaning validation, conveyor systems, materials of construction and the design of elastomeric seals. Most EHEDG guidance documents are reviewed approximately every five years ─ or sooner if there is a pressing need to do so. EHEDG members can join any existing group (at the discretion of the working group chair) when the group is in the process of writing a new guideline or revising an existing one. For a current list of Working Groups and contact details for group Chairs, please visit www.ehedg.org
Q: Is it possible to propose a topic for guidance and, if so, how would someone go about this?
A: Absolutely! Proposals for new topics to work on are encouraged and there is a process to follow in order to have such topics considered and approved/declined. EHEDG members who wish to propose the creation of a Working Group and guideline on a specific topic and are welcome to email their proposals to the EHEDG secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org. The proposed topic can then be reviewed by EHEDG’s Product Portfolio Sub-Committee and EHEDG's Executive Committee.
Q: How can I gain access to existing EHEDG Guidelines and best practice information?
A: EHEDG members can download copies of existing guidelines from the EHEDG website. Non-members can download each one for a modest charge.