• Length:
    8 Weeks
  • Effort:
    6–8 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $49 USD

  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

Prerequisites

None

About this course

Everyday reports of food scandals and recalls are published. One day it’s scary bacteria in meat, and another day it’s dangerous pesticides in fruits. According to some, meat needs to be cooked well to prevent food-borne illness while others warn not to heat food to prevent the formation of poisonous substances.

Many consumers worry about the conflicting and confusing messages about food hazards

This nutrition and health course will teach you about the hazards associated with food and give you the tools to assess and quantify the dangers they can present. You will learn the effects of food processing, the shared responsibility in the food chain and the prevention of food poisoning/intoxication. After this course, you will be able to differentiate what is a food myth vs. an actual risk. Finally, you will gain a contemporary view of how different risks can be weighed in a scientific way.

What you'll learn

  • Overview of food hazards
  • Elementary knowledge on microbiological and toxicological risk analysis
  • How to better interpret the information overload about hazards in food
  • Why zero hazard does not exist
  • Ways to reduce hazards in food
Module 1: Hazards and risks in the modern food chain
Introduction to the difference between a hazard and a risk, the different types of hazards present in food and the perception of risk by public.
 
Module 2: Interpretation of risks, probability and relevance
Introduction to risk reporting, how ways of presenting information can mislead consumers and difference between significance and relevance.
 
Module 3: Microorganisms in food: good, bad and/or a nuisance
Introduction to ubiquitous, good/bad or spoiling microorganisms.
 
Module 4: Qualitative and quantitative principles food safety of chemicals
Classification of risks as avoidable or unavoidable, difference between genotoxic and non-genotoxic compounds and examples of important genotoxic carcinogens present in the food chain as well as introduction to dose-response concept.
 
Module 5: Toxicological risk assessment
Introduction to risk assessment framework, different ways of performing risk assessments depending on the nature of the chemical (i.e. genotoxic vs. non genotoxic) and hands on risk assessment of the food additive cyclamate and the carcinogen acrylamide.
 
Module 6: Microbiological risk assessment
Introduction to contamination routes, dose-response relationship and effect of temperature on microorganisms’ growth as well as sampling and legal requirements.
 
Module 7: Ways to reduce risks in food
Introduction to prevention of avoidable hazard, effect of heat on hazards and inactivation as well as prevention techniques to reduce risks in food.
 
Module 8: Final assignment/exam
Wrap-up.

Meet your instructors

Ivonne M.C.M. Rietjens
Full Professor in Toxicology
Wageningen University & Research
Marcel H. Zwietering
Full Professor in Food Microbiology
Wageningen University & Research
Martine Reij
Assistant Professor in the Laboratory of Food Microbiology
Wageningen University & Research
Jochem Louisse
Assistant Professor in the Division of Toxicology
Wageningen University & Research
Jonathan Nicolas
Postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Toxicology
Wageningen University & Research

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Learner testimonials

"I am very satisfied with this training. Even if I work professionnaly in the field of microbiological risk assessment, it enabled me to review and update myself on this subject. The main reason for my registration to this MOOC was the part on risk assessment linked to chemical hazards. I learned a lot and it gives now me a good foundation for getting involved in this subject in my work. An expert course on the field would be useful for professionnals of the agroindustrial sector." -- Previous Learner