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Wageningen University

Nutrition and Health: Food Safety

Wageningen University via edX


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


Module1: 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

Taught by

Ivonne M.C.M. Rietjens, Marcel H. Zwietering, Martine Reij, Jochem Louisse and Jonathan Nicolas

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4.5 rating, based on 143 reviews

Start your review of Nutrition and Health: Food Safety

  • Anonymous
    I learned so much in this course and I plan to use the suggestions presented in the videos in my own home and will share the information with friends and relatives. The course content was well put together with many videos to help us remember each point....
  • Anonymous
    Очень интересный и полезный курс для всех, кто имеет дело с едой.

    Показалось, что курс немного не сбалансирован по уровню сложности и начальных знаний: часть про анализ рисков сложновата для неподготовленного человека, а часть про меры на кухне скорее на бытовом уровне.

    Но в целом курс помог лучше разобраться в теме и наметить пути для дальнейшего изучения.
  • Anonymous
    This course was very helpful to understand the basics of food safety. I particularly liked the exercises; they were more specific than in some other MOOC, very good. Also the examples were entertaining, and the links to references are helpful.

    To get to 5 stars, for me it would help to have a few more visual summaries in the videos. There is a lot of spoken language (and the transcript), and sometimes that content was summarised in a flow chart or simple bullet point list - that always improves the understanding for me.

    That being said, this course is totally worth doing if you are interested in learning about food safety!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Since I was auditing the course I found some of the science and math difficult to follow in the time I desired to spend on the course. I did learn a lot of helpful things that I have already put to use in determining the purchase and use of a new food product. I felt the course was well organized and the speakers were informative. As with health care and taking medications there are a lot of risks the consumer must consider before deciding on consuming foods. We assume everything that is sold to the public is totally safe, which is not true. Learned many good tips on the selection, storage, and preparation of food products. Thank you.
  • Anonymous
    Thank you very much for this course. You have given me great enlightenment on this subject. I realized that I was an extremely bad consumer of food safety (for example: I was enjoying the smell of burnt oil from the barbecue). But now, thanks to you, I am a conscious consumer who attaches maximum importance to food safety. I am now trying to ensure the safety of cooked or raw, packaged or not products that enter my home and how to preserve them in the refrigerator. I hope you reach more people in the world with this course. Thank you again for opening my horizons, take care of yourself, stay with love.
  • Anonymous
    This course gave me a lot of useful tips about keeping food safe. I understood the ways to preserve food properly, what temperatures kills pathogenic organisms at what range, also upsetting facts about Maillard reaction, and why keeping cooked food out of the fridge makes it spoiled or contaminated, to name just a few. Unavoidable and unavaidable risks are observed. The lectureres are excellent, presentation are also of the highest level, impressive, thanks to them information is kept in mind and understood easily. Watching this course was a pleasant and valuable experience for me.
  • Anonymous
    This MOOC has given me a broader perspective on food safety. It has equipped me with vital knowledge on the risk assessment of various hazards present in the food chain, their entry routes and how to mitigate them. I feel empowered and more knowledgeable in food safety after enrolling in this course, and on my journey to building a successful career as a budding food quality and safety professional. I also feel motivated to pursue a masters degree in Food Safety from Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands.
  • Anonymous
    This course really improved my knowledge in the area of the food safety. It was captivating and it did not take a lot of time daily. Content is interesting and divided in a lot of smaller parts, so it seems easier than it is really. I can say that I did put effort and learned a lot of new things, but with ease! It is really interesting topic and it is very wide, but this course managed to make an excellent overview and to give enough information, so one can decide in which direction wants to go deeper.
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    Tengo Akobia

    Tengo Akobia completed this course.

    This course is amazing! . Very interesting lecturers, interesting assignments and discussions, I am happy that I was given the opportunity to take this course and I hope that I will pass the final exams.
    The knowledge and certification obtained from this course will definitely change my daily activities for the better and I would like to thank all the people who have contributed to the creation of this course.
  • Anonymous
    A big thanks to edX for this great opportunity and also to lecturers at the University of Wagenigen who took their time to lecture us.

    It was indeed a great time learning through the edX platform.

    The food safety course talks majorly on our nutrition and how it relates to our health cutting across the various ways through which food can be safe for human consumption
  • Anonymous
    This course, Nutrition and health:food risk had introduced me to the concepts of food safety and food risk. It has broaden my scope in risk analysis. Microbiological and toxicological risks helped me to understand the different types of risks and how...
  • Anonymous
    This course is very interesting and you can learn a lot. The exercises provided after viewing the videos are of great help to better understand the topics that are addressed each week. The real-life examples and documents they provide are also of great help to expand your knowledge.
  • Anonymous
    The course is very dynamic and entertaining. I recommend it if you want to know more about food hygiene, microbiology and food toxicity. The topics are simple and clear to understand. I found a lot of information that will be useful to me in my work and professional field.
  • Anonymous
    First of all, thank you.

    I learnd a lot with this course, that videos is so important to interage and to enjoy the informations, but o haver justo only addendon. Wikipedia It's not a good referente to academics or the population, becouse It's had no credbility.

  • Anonymous
    This was really helpful in improving my knowledge on food safety processes. And the concepts were clear and easy to understand as a beginner. The explanation given by the professors were wonderful and specially 'myth of the week' series was great.
  • Anonymous
    Well it's very important bto learn about healthy and hygiene. Sometimes you may think you are doing the right thing buying freezing the cooked foods not knowing the risk. I learned a lot about this

  • Anonymous
    Thank you for offering this course it helped me to see new perspectives on food safety. The content will also help on my daily work with restaurants and commercial kitchens.
  • Anonymous
    I like this course very much. It provided me core knowledges about food safety with multiple ways to understand and remember them. I was very enjoying my learning. Thanks a lot!
  • Anonymous
    This MOOC is really interesting and informative. One can understand the risk of pathogens growing in food and their role as a consumer in ensuring the food is safe.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I am amazed that I can complete in suceed in 7 days because it is my duty as a student not just only reading books and learn at school.A student can also learn outside or just using materials that school provides,after finishing this course,I will try my very best to suceed my next journey in MOOC.

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