module specification

NF7004 - Food Microbiology and Safety  (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Food Microbiology and Safety 
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 200
152 hours Guided independent study
48 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Lab report (2500 words)
Unseen Examination 40%   Written exam (1.5 h)
In-Course Test 20%   Online exam (EXO) weekly quiz
Attendance Requirement 0%   Practical Attendance
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

This module is designed to integrate theory and practice of food microbiology and microbial risk assessment. It covers the mechanisms and factors affecting the microbial growth, risk analysis with respect to microbial food safety, predictive microbiology, emerging pathogens, foodborne disease, microbiology from farm to fork, control of pathogens and introduction to molecular microbiology.

Module aims

This module reflects current thinking in this subject area and places emphasis on the behaviour of pathogenic microorganisms in foods, pathogenicity and control. Students will develop particular theoretical knowledge and practical skills on conventional and molecular identification microorganisms as well as microbial risk analysis of food. They will also develop the ability to apply advanced theoretical knowledge to complex real world problems.


  • Mechanisms of microbial growth, survival and death
  • Current models of risk analysis for microbial food safety
  • Predictive microbiology and its use in food safety assurance
  • Emerging pathogens and new concepts of foodborne disease, particularly those that are likely to involve symptoms other than diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Pathogenicity and the basis of foodborne disease
  • Microbiology in primary agriculture and in the production and consumer environment
  • Control of pathogens by traditional and novel processing technologies and through hygiene control systems
  • Introduction to molecular microbiology

Learning and teaching

The basic principles will be developed in lectures using case studies as teaching examples (22 hours). Students will undertake an extended exercise (22 hours) in which they will identify and quantify the microbiological hazards specific to a product using a combination of laboratory and theoretical work. This exercise will involve a novel food product for which published information is not available. Students will identify likely hazards based on their incomplete knowledge of the product and process. This will be linked with HACCP and both ingredient-associated (intrinsic) and process-associated (extrinsic) hazards will be identified. Students will determine prevalence and numbers of microorganisms by isolation and identification techniques. Relevant product properties (eg pH, aw) will also be determined. A predictive program will be used to determine growth under different conditions. Students will be expected to demonstrate use of the data in the development of risk analysis and to generalise their findings to other situations. Students will be expected to undertake a significant amount of self-directed study including reading of appropriate.

Learning outcomes

On completing this module students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of  foodborne diseases and emerging pathogens
  2. Critically analyse the causes of microbiological hazards and control of food safety in the production and consumer environments.
  3. Apply and evaluate current models of microbiological risk analysis to food safety.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the application of modelling techniques in food safety.
  5. Demonstrate the skills for microbial identification and assessment of virulence factors in pathogen microorganisms

Assessment strategy

Students knowledge and understanding of foodborne pathogens, microbiological hazards and their control will be tested in an unseen exam (1.5 h). They will also prepare a lab report (2500 words) of their laboratory work in which they will demonstrate their ability to apply a range of techniques to food safety problems.
Students will also be assessed by undertaking a series of weekly on-line quizzes that will be marked and feedbacks will be provided. The final component for students to be assessed summatively is an unseen exam (1.5 h).

Component Marks Learning outcomes
Progress exam  (weekly quizzes) 20% 1, 2
Coursework  (Lab report, 2500 words) 40% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Unseen final exam (1.5 h) 40% 1,2

To pass the module, students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 50%.  There will be an attendance requirement for the practical sessions. If the module is passed on reassessment, then the maximum mark awarded will be 50%.


Doyle, M.P. and Beuchat, L.R. (2007). Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 3rd edition. Washington DC: ASM Press [CORE]
Forsythe, S. (2010). The Microbiological Risk Assessment of Food. 2nd edition. Oxford, Blackwell
Jay, J.M. (2005). Modern Food Microbiology,7th  edition. New York: Springer [CORE]
Mitchell, R. (2000). Practical Microbiological Risk Assessment, London: Chadwick House Group