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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 128 reviews

Start your review of Nutrition and Health: Food Safety

  • Anonymous
    More interaction with other students, professors and lecturers would have made it easier to learn the course. The lecturers were clear, interesting and insightful. E-mails with questions were answered quickly. The 'Myth of the Week' videos were fun...
  • 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

    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
    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.
  • Anonymous
    This course is the one of the ways I found it possible to learn more and deepen my knowledge about Food Safety. This is a very complete course not only for beginner apprentices but also for Food Safety senior consultants so they can refresh some concepts. The video lectures are excellent and the Professors show their expertise in every explanation. Special mentions to Professors Dr. Jonathan Nicolas and Dr. Martine Reij.
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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 good introduction about food safety and how risk assessment is done. I have been working in the food industry for several years now, and I am glad to take this course that have provide a lot of useful knowledge of introduction on how raw material risk is assessed and a number of resources and database were introduced which is new to me.
  • 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 was very interesting and I learnt many new things which can be applied to daily life. It certainly has made me think about my practices and the improvements that need to be made so that food is safer to consume on my end as a consumer. Recommended to take this course!
  • 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 materials were really great. Affording deep explanations, several examples, and all that in a fun interactive way making it enjoyable along with being informative. The instructors look very knowledgeable and teach in a friendly way.
  • Anonymous
    This course was very educational and I can apply the knowledge I learnt to my daily life. As food is a very important part of our lives, it is good to possess knowledge of this course and I would recommend it to my friends.
  • Anonymous
    This course covered a number of food safety topics and their recursions in our daily lives in a simple and direct way. Support exercises are an asset to complement the theoretical presentations to consolidate the information.
  • 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

    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.
  • Anonymous
    It is always nice to be able to assess food risks accurately from a statistical standpoint. This course will teach you that and much more. Enjoy!
  • Anonymous
    Beginner course in food safety. For me, that i had zero knowledge in this topic, was really good organized and interesting to follow.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    The course is very interesting although it presents many technical topics not immediately understood. It would be useful to have a synthetic pantry that summarizes the various methodologies and procedures in risk assessment

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