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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


4.5 rating, based on 167 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Nutrition and Health: Food Safety

  • Anonymous
    I’ve learned a lot. The videos are very clear and helpful, it’s like a classroom. The practice in between, to check if I understood the subject was helpful. The explanation of the answers, was most of the time clear. Unfortunately the bmds software changed so I couldn’t practice with this. The background information is really good and gives a lot of extra knowledge.
  • Anonymous
    Very useful course. For an experienced laboratory scientist maybe several microbiological safety issues are well known, but then the information on chemical risks and formation of harmful chemicals during processing is very insightful, and vice versa. Also learning how to do the risk assessments and calculation has been a positive experience.
  • Anonymous
    The course was definitely an eye-opener on different food hazards and risks we face everyday and how we can help ourselves by our choices of food and methods of preparation and keeping track of a hygienic lifestyle.
    Also it was very detailed course with calculations on risk assessments.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent modules with great methods of illustration that makes learning easy. The tutors makes it easy and the self-pace method of running the course makes you achieve more, since you get to choose how short or long you want to study for in a day
  • Anonymous
    I am a chef from a Charter School In USA and This is amazing !! I have been learning a lot the only thing is I am not good at all in math, I need to learn more about it and need more time to be on this course.
    Thank you so much.
  • Anonymous
    Good course I really enjoyed it. It was very easy to understand the lessons although in the calculations section you can improve the way you explain things but overally I was really impressed.
  • Anonymous
    It is a good course to deepen previous knowledge and learn to use new tools.It is a good course to deepen previous knowledge and learn to use new tools.
  • Anonymous
    The MOOC was very informative and helpful to me since I am learning cooking right now. However, it would be good if the MOOC creators check the validity of their links every now and then. Some of the links were broken and did not lead to the right web page for information in assignments.
  • Anonymous
    It was fun doing the class everyday and got to learn many things during the course period i wish to attend more such classes in future.
  • Anonymous
    This course helps me realise many risks that I have not learned about before, and debunks some myths flying around about food safety.
  • Anonymous
    La crème de la crème
    The french cook will explain to you this expression
    Thanks a lot for all
  • Profile image for Tengo Akobia
    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
    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

    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
  • 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
    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
    This was an excellent course. It was very detailed, and covered every conceivable aspect of food safety and good practices.
  • Anonymous
    Throughout the 7 weeks that I have been in the course, I have learned different things that I know will be useful for my daily life as well as my professional life, since food safety is something that everyone is in charge of. also as consumers we are responsible for it.
  • 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 online course is very educational. It broadening my knowledge in risk assessment for food safety which is relevant to my career as a quality control officer. The materials, links and other form of additional point of view in this lesson is a big help.

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