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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 156 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Nutrition and Health: Food Safety

  • 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
    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
    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
    Very interactive videos - especially the myth busting videos in each module. The questions to practice also helps me to apply what I have learnt and should understand in each of the modules. Overall a balanced, enjoyable and fruitful course.
  • 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
    I am grateful that i found this course and hoping this will help me in my career. this course helped me to study and made me understand that what is food safety and how it can influence us in our daily life
  • Anonymous
    the course is very interesting, it introduces the person who follows it to different topics of food safety and leaves many ideas to deepen.
    Maybe in some moments it becomes too technical
  • Neecie
    It was very interesting because all of the food and the nutrients can be healthy. The food in the nutrients can help your body grow and make it stronger and healthier for your body.
  • Anonymous
    This was very helpful and it provided a lot of new information. Assessment and the videos were too good. The myth in every module was clearly explained. Really a very informative course.
  • Anonymous
    Very engaging course, but i found a few concepts hard to undertand. The answers to the questions were a bonus, as i could retrace my steps and see where i went wrong.
  • Anonymous
    This is great opportunity to get extra knowledge. keep it up and let you give other opportunity like short term training on food safety,analysis .....
  • Anonymous
    Good learning & reminders on the cycle of Food Chain.
    Easy reading & understanding for learners of all levels. Videos are excellent & entertaining. Thank you.
  • Anonymous
    thanks for this course it is really complex and need time to understand it deeply
    I wish I have more time to be done it more nicely especially during the exam
  • Anonymous
    Great course, I've learned a lot. The course contain practice knowledge that I can use in the laboratory.
  • 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
    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
    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
    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.

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