International Distance Learning Programme on Food Safety Management

The European Chair in Food Safety Microbiology has established a distance learning programme on some of the most important aspects of Food Safety Management. Through this programme, the Chair aims to strengthen the expertise and knowledge in food safety management of students and professionals around the world.

This programme is offered by the European Chair in Food Safety Microbiology, Laboratory for Food Microbiology at Wageningen University.

The e-learning courses in this programme are currently blended in the curriculum of the MSc in Food Safety, MSc food technology, and MSc Biotechnology at the Wageningen University. However, individual external players and organisations providing academic or professional training globally may want to take benefit of this unique resource.

Each course has a final test; after conducting this test with sufficient results, a Certificate of Participation will be issued.

Why this programme

Agri-food products are marketed over an ever-wider area and as a result the reliance on robust management systems that assure the safe and hygienic production of food in the international as well as national context has increased considerably. The operation of such management systems in the course of food product development and production by agri-food companies requires skilled personnel with up-to-date knowledge of hazards possibly associated to food, hygiene in food production, food safety management systems, preservation approaches and monitoring methods. Appropriate skills are also required for staff or competent authorities overseeing the implementation of systems for food safety assurance systems in their country and for academics teaching future generations of food safety professionals in the private or public sectors.

The information on food safety management systems and other aspects of food safety assurance in this distance learning programme are largely based on internationally accepted principles and guidelines established by intergovernmental authorities (such as those of Codex Alimentarius), that are subscribed to many competent authorities in the world and also keep to best practices established in the wider food industry. The programme focuses on the management of microbiological hazards, though physical and chemical hazards are considered where appropriate.


The courses in this program are meant to provide good awareness of the concepts and terminology underlying specific aspects of food safety management. They are more for the generalist than for the specialist. They can be used as part of continuous professional development, e.g. in combination with more specialized courses and, importantly, offer self-learning opportunities.

The Food Safety Management programme consists of the following e-learning courses:

  1. Food Related Hazards
  2. Good Hygienic Practices
  3. HACCP
  4. Hygienic Design
  5. Food Preservation
  6. Sampling & Monitoring

The courses have a final test; upon successful completion of the final test a Certificate of Participation will be issued.

For whom is this programme?

The programme is intended for students and professionals at BSc or MSc level in Food Safety, Food Science or Food Technology or for those with more specialised science skills such as food microbiology or toxicology that are interested in strengthening their general knowledge in food safety management. It is relevant for people directly involved in food production, manufacturing and food service, but also for academia, government staff and researchers.

Relevance for target groups and level of skills and time required per course

Relevance for target groups and level of skills and time required per course

Click image left to view.


Distance learning offers you a flexible learning solution allowing you to learn at a time, pace and place that suits you at best. The time needed to work through a single course varies from 16 tot 30 hours but this largely depends on your background and experience.

The courses contain theory, cases and closed questions. After answering a question, feedback will be provided and you may study and trial all questions as often as you like. The courses have a final test; upon successful completion of the final test a certificate of participation will be issued.

The complete programme of six courses is available after registration for a period of three months. In that period, the courses are on-line and accessible all day, every day of the week. The courses are "stand-alone", allowing each course to be followed independently.

Please note that course participants do not have interaction with other students nor with teachers. There is no access to the University staff for consultation on course content or assignments. Should there be any issues with the online availability of courses, IT support will only be given during office hours In The Netherlands.

This programme is open to partnerships with organizations that are interested to blend these courses into their own education or training courses and to coordinators of training within particular organisations. Such partnerships need to be formally applied for. When approved, they may be able to issue their own certificates to successful participants of their courses.

Course fees

The distance learning programme is made available on a not-for-profit basis to individuals and partnering organisations.

The course fee for an individual to get access to the complete distance learning programme for a period of 3 months is 135 Euros per participant. This modest fee is intended to open up the distance learning material for many relevant audiences around the world and as such to promote the wider dissemination of best practices and globally established principles in food safety management. The participant may also choose to order single courses.

You can register by creating a new account. You will then be able to fill in the form for the email based self-registration. Subsequently you will get instructions via email on how to complete your registration.

After receiving your account confirmation you can choose to pay for the courses via:

  • PayPal (with your PayPal account or credit card)
    When paying via PayPal you will get access to the courses within a couple of minutes.
  • Transfer the fee through your local bank
    When paying by bank transfer it can take a couple of weeks.


Partnering organisations and training and learning coordinators of interested organisations may wish to consider group enrollment. Groups of at least 16 participants may benefit from a reduced subscription rate. This is decided on case-by-case basis by the European Chair.

Universities and other training providers and governmental organisations and companies are welcome to contact us for collaboration.


IT requirements

If you wish to apply for this distance-learning programme, please make sure that you / the course participants, have:

  • Access to computer and internet
  • An e-mail address
  • Basic skills in Excel (for the courses “Preservation” and “Sampling and Monitoring courses” only)

For the course content to be displayed correctly, the participants’ computers need to meet the following criteria:

  • Browser: Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher; the browser must be JavaScript-enabled
  • Screen size: at least 800 x 600 pixels
  • Colour: The colour setting should be at least 64.536 colours (16-bit)

Please note that some case studies, which are developed with flash, do not work on mobile devices.