Specialisation Applied Food Safety

This specialisation focuses on the more technological aspects of food safety and food safety management. The first half of the first year students will follow courses on specific subjects, in the second half, the different disciplines are integrated.

First year

The first period has no compulsory courses and students can choose two optional courses. Due to the large differences in backgrounds of the students, both in BSc degree (Food Technology or similar, Nutrition, Dietetics, Pharmacy) and nationality, it is often necessary for many students to catch up with Food Microbiology.

The compulsory part of the programme starts in period 2 with the course Food Related Allergies and Intolerances. This course provides insights into the immunological and non-immunological background of adverse reactions to foods. The second course in period 2 is Food Law. As all food law is basically derived from a food safety perspective, this course is essential for the programme.

Periods 3 and 4 focus on more technical knowledge with the Advanced Food Microbiology and Food Toxicology courses. Advanced Food Microbiology deals with issues like microbial stress response, biofilm formation, microbial detection and identification methods, food safety objectives and risk analysis. Food Toxicology deals with all major food toxins, including all classes of natural and non-natural toxins. Both courses have intensive practicals, using a wide range of techniques and experiments.

In period 5 the courses have a more integrated character. Food Safety Risk Assessment is a course taught by the Food Microbiology and Toxicology Chair Groups. Technical lectures are combined with integrated risk assessments and practicals. Food Safety Economics focuses on the economic aspects of the decision-making process in the field of food safety, which often differ from technological aspects. Food Fraud and Mitigation focusses on the impact , how to detect and how to mitigate food fraud.

The first year concludes with the large (12 credits) integrated and unique course, Food Safety Management.

Compulsory courses (year 1, 48 credits) :

Restricted optional courses (year 1, 6 or 12 credits):

Optional courses (year 1, 0 or 6 credits)

  • Choose a course after consultation with your study advisor

For information on the different courses, see the study handbook of the university, or click on the above course link.

Second year

In their second year, students work on a thesis of at least 36 credits at one of the Chair Groups related to food safety (Food Microbiology, Toxicology, Law, Business Economics). The thesis has to be performed at Wageningen University. During their thesis, students apply their knowledge by performing research under supervision. In addition, students do an internship of at least 24 credits at a company, institute or university outside Wageningen University on a food safety topic.

Internships are mostly with international food companies and organizations like the World Health Organization. International internships are stimulated by the programme.

Recent thesis topics


  • Modeling the effect of various acids on the maximum specific growth rate of Bacillus cereus
  • Antibacterial activity of soybean tempeh against the food-borne pathogen Bacillus cereus
  • Isolation of wild propionic acid bacteria out of raw milk cheeses with high salt content
  • Diagnostic study of microbiological quality and safety in the production chain of tropical warm water shrimps
  • Challenge tests for Listeria monocytogenes using sodium lactate in cold smoked salmon, processed in The Netherlands
  • Growth dynamics of Campylobacter and competitors during enrichment procedure
  • Processing and safety aspects of insects as ingredients for fermented foods


  • Risk assessment and risk communication of herbs and spices containing the natural genotoxic carcinogenic compounds alkenylbenzenes
  • Effect of size on cytotoxicity and cellular uptake of polymer nanoparticles
  • Development and application of a marine bioassay with the heart urchin Echnocardium cordatum
  • cDNA Microarray technology for food safety evaluation. Model study of GM potatoes grown in South Africa
  • An insight in the mechanism of cytotoxicity of organically monolayered silicon core nanoparticles in Caco-2 cells

To the specialisation Food Safety Law

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