This course in the Laboratory of Food Microbiology's distance learning programme is meant to provide good awareness of the concepts and terminology underlying specific aspects of food safety management.
It is an introduction to Food Microbiology and Food Related Hazards. It can serve as a refresher for participants with a background in food processing or food technology at BSc or MSc level. The course covers: the factors that influence microbial growth, the most important foodborne pathogens, and different food products with their related pathogens.
Who is this e-learning course for?
The table below shows to whom the course should be of interest to and what the level of relevance for each group might be. Target groups are staff in food industry, food inspection, or other organizations involved in food production and food safety.
After completing this course the participant will be able to:
- Describe the most relevant pathogenic micro-organisms in agricultural products and processed foods;
- Describe the effects of temperature, water activity, pH, gaseous atmosphere, and redox potential on bacterial growth;
- Describe bacterial growth curves;
- Relate pathogenic bacteria to the food products in which they commonly occur and vice versa.
There are no official entry requirements. However, we expect that participants have a BSc degree in Food Science, Food Processing or Food Technology, or equivalent professional experience.
Level and duration
The general level of this course, as well as the level in terms of mathematical skills required, is rated at one (1) on a scale of 1 (basic) to 3 (advanced). The estimated time required to complete this course is 16 hours or less if the participant has prior knowledge of food microbiology. This is including the case study, which requires about ninety minutes.
The course consists of background materials, some flash movies and a case study. Each chapter is followed by two sets of multiple-choice assignments. These assignments are selected to assist participants to develop skills in handling issues related to food hazards. Some principles are illustrated through interactive flash movies. The case study helps participants to practice what has been learned. It is a simulated case of food poisoning. The role of the participant in this case is that of a food microbiologist who attempts to determine whether or not this is a case of a foodborne disease case or something else. A database for likely pathogens is included and can be accessed via the Blackboard application. The assignments results are graded; the participant can review his/her grades and compare with average results. It is advisable to obtain a 100% score for all assignments before attempting to make the case study. For easy reading and archiving purposes, the theory is available in pdf format as well.