David Lowry, FNZIFST, Lowry Food Consultants
A regional section of the European Hygienic Engineering Design Group (EHEDG) was formally established at the plenary meeting of the EHEDG World Congress in London in late November 2018.
The initiative to establish a regional section for New Zealand was spearheaded by David Lowry, based on his assessment of a food safety need and resource gap in the New Zealand food industry and its supply chain that he gained over a lifetime of industry troubleshooting and consultation. His experience showed that flaws in hygienic design of facilities and equipment were very frequently the basis for food safety issues, arising from a combination of factors including limited access to knowledge and technical resources, failure to engage all relevant stakeholders in decisions and insufficient focus on hygienic design principles.
What is EHEDG? What does it do?
The EHEDG mission states “EHEDG enables safe food production by providing guidance as an authority on hygienic engineering and design”.
EHEDG was founded in 1989 in the Netherlands as a not-for-profit consortium of equipment manufacturers, food producers, suppliers to the food industry, research institutes, universities, public health authorities and governmental organizations. EHEDG provides a balanced forum for all stakeholders to discuss issues concerning hygienic design and to stimulate food safety and quality by:
- Identifying areas where knowledge of hygienic design is insufficient;
- Filling the existing gaps and lack of know-how with practical guidelines and education;
- Preparing scientific and technical guidelines on all aspects of best practice hygienic design requirements in accordance with relevant legislation;
- Offering expertise, networking and further developments in the fields of hygienic engineering and design and safe food production;
- Encouraging research and development in the field of hygienic design;
- Promoting and disseminating hygienic design know-how through all media channels, congresses, seminars etc.
While European-based in origin, the mission of EHEDG is relevant globally with 32 Regional Country Sections, 11 sections are now outside of Europe in the Americas and Asia Pacific with New Zealand being the newest member. <subhead> Become a member
EHEDG membership is split into three types; Company members, Institute members (includes universities), and individual members. All membership is through the central EHEDG secretariat ( www.ehedg.org ) with all registered members automatically linked to their Country Regional Section for no additional fee. Membership numbers are growing rapidly with individual membership categories being: equipment manufacturers (53%); plant and process engineers (24%) and food producers and service providers making up the balance. EHEDG works in close collaboration with 3-A Sanitary Standards Inc. in the USA, and has a significant project underway with GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) globally.
The New Zealand Regional Section of EHEDG is at the very outset of establishment with the first meeting of the New Zealand committee (voluntary members representing all stakeholder groups) taking place in early February to establish operation within the EHEDG guidelines and objectives specific to New Zealand. Key objectives for the NZEHEDG organisation will include:
- Establishing sector group engagement re membership of EHEDG
- Establish an education training network for delivery of EHEDG training modules
- Set up a network and information structure to enable identification of issues of concern and encourage industry-wide solution
- Acknowledge the expertise of the global EHEDG community and to promote the capability of New Zealand ‘experts’ to be part of Guideline development working groups
Currently, David Lowry is the Chair of the NZ EHEDG Committee. Until the first meeting of the committee when dedicated web links, social media and e-mail links for EHEDG NZ are established, the contact for EHEDG NZ is through David’s company e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org . Further details will be provided through Food New Zealand, NZIFST Nibbles and other appropriate channels as soon as they are finalized and set up.
In the meantime, please contact David via e-mail regarding any aspect of EHEDG membership, benefits and activities. He would be delighted to hear from you regarding becoming a member and/or participating in committee functions.
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