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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 197 Class Central reviews

4.3 rating at edX based on 48 ratings

Start your review of Nutrition and Health: Food Safety

  • Anonymous
    I love this course. The structure of this course is clear and intriguing. Learning this course is like climbing a mountain, steps by steps reaching the top, and the whole course is complete for me like a circle. For example, in the WEEK 1, the difference of hazard and risk is clarified and exposure is described. And these concepts kind of serve as background information of the later courses like DALY, risk assessment and so on. In addition, the courses about risk assessment also paves the way for the later toxicological and microbiological assessment. This structure makes me easily understand and even easily memorise the knowledge, better than what I did in my undergraduate study.
  • Anonymous
    This course is suitable for refreshing on food safety basics with clear definitions, syllabus, real-world scenarios, and applicable skills. I appreciated the clear explanations with animated videos, and also many practice questions to ensure I understand the content. It is suitable for people of all backgrounds, but of course it is best to read up on the additional materials provided to have a deeper and broader knowledge of existing problems that are managed by effective food safety understanding.
  • Profile image for Anower Foysal
    Anower Foysal
    That's really great and a good way to learn "Food Safety". A useful course for food safety workers and for personal knowledge about risks we are exposed to when consuming food. The course is very relevant and content is very rich. The time allocated to it , that is the duration by your partners in my opinion should be a little much longer considering the fact that there are lots of calculations and computing based exercises and the questions need lots of reflections and deductive reasoning.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent educational videos, and the tests are great because you can see where you are wrong and why because they have the explanation when you check correct answer.
    If you have a calculator beside you it makes it easier if you are using your cell phone for the course in lieu of struggling with your phone back and fort. I'm truly enjoying this learning experience.
  • Anonymous
    There are too many calculations please if possible reduce those and give more information.
    I wouldn't say I like calculations when there are too many so most of the time my interest was lost to go forward with the course
  • 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
    It is very important to take this course, since we do not keep in mind many details to lead a healthy life. Here you will learn everything related to the reduction of risks and dangers with food.
  • Anonymous
    I've learned alot by this course, now I know the difference between risk and hazard, different types of contaminants and their preventive methods,about microorganisms,food preservation,etc..
  • Anonymous
    This course is very helpful! The material presented is easy to understand and the assignment content is related to the module material. Highly recommended!!
  • Anonymous
    This course is very good, even though it is online. The material given is not as complete as in lectures, but I can take important points from each material
  • Anonymous
    I thought it was very good, I was able to delve deeper into the topics seen in class and learn more about food quality.
  • Anonymous
    Good video experiences and the mentors are good and the idea and the way of explaining reaches the students well
  • Anonymous
    I enjoy the myths of the week and generally think the content is very informative and easy to follow.
  • 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
    I had a great opportunity to learn food safety in the MOOC and was knowledgeable about all kinds of food risks and I'm sure this course will help me a lot and I'm able to apply them in my daily life and The instructors are excellent at teaching and…
  • 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
    I'm still studying the course, Nutrition and Health: Food Safety. But, I have learned this course up to the Module -7. For our health, we need to eat not only the nutritional foods and vitamin rich ones but also foods that are safe. To be safe the f…
  • Anonymous
    I have to say that this course helped me to strengthen my knowledge in food safety and risk assessment. The simplicity of the presentation coupled by the questions and tests played a major role in understanding the topic. Ιn addition I really enjoyed the transmissibility of the professors. Finally I would like to attend more online courses around the food science and technology.
  • Jinane Ghawi
    I personally found this course very interesting, informative and I really enjoyed learning. Instructors were able to clearly explain topics that are completely new to me, and there were some nice relevant illustrations that facilitate and enhance learning.
    A useful course for food safety workers and for personal knowledge about risks we are exposed to when consuming food.
  • Anonymous
    The course is very relevant and content is very rich. The time allocated to it , that is the duration by your partners in my opinion should be a little much longer considering the fact that there are lots of calculations and computing based exercises and the questions need lots of reflections and deductive reasoning.

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