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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies : Veterinary Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Food Safety Hazards and Food Safety Management Systems (VESC11153)

Course Outline
SchoolRoyal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will provide students with high quality SCQF level 11 specialist skills in detecting and identifying food safety hazards along the food chain and insights into control of them.
Course description This course includes Foodborne pathogens, Chemical hazards and Food Safety Management Systems.

The Foodborne pathogens part of the course will provide an overview of the main pathogens responsible for food borne disease in humans, the main laboratory techniques for their isolation and identification from a variety of food matrixes and the ability to interpret complex laboratory results.

The Chemical hazards and Food Safety Management Systems part of the course provides an overview and significance of the main chemical hazards in terms of food safety and the use of food safety management systems (HACCP, risk analysis, auditing, ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection, etc) in the food chain to control food safety hazards.

Food borne zoonoses:
Introductory aetiology, infectious and non-infectious diseases of animals, occurrence and transmission, diagnostics and control, prevention, basics of biosecurity in primary production, interrelation of pathogens, hosts and environment (including climate), endemic and epidemic infections with zoonotic potential, role of animals in the transmission and epidemiological aspects of zoonotic pathogens (local/systemic, acute/chronic, apparent / unapparent, shedding/non-shedding, vertical/horizontal transmission, transmission routes: airborne, direct, food, water, environment and arthropod vectors).

Risk analysis:
Principles and concepts of risk analysis, international regulations, technical standards (Codex, OIE), risk assessment approaches, management, and communication.

Food safety and control:
Principles of food safety legislation on international and EU level, responsibility of food business and competent authorities, self-control and Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS), food inspection, alternative approaches (equivalence), hurdle systems.
Inspection of food of animal origin
Principles of ante-mortem, post-mortem inspection, role of the food chain information and collection and communication of inspection results. Principles of modernization of meat inspection. Principle of inspection of other food of animal origin.

Detection of microorganisms in the food chain:
Examination, diagnostics and monitoring of microbial contamination of food of animal origin or related to animals, bacterial, viral and parasitic aetiology, sampling, classical food microbiology, relevance of and systems for typing methods, microbial ecology of foodborne pathogens and spoilage microorganisms.

Chemical hazards in the food safety context:
Residues of veterinary medicinal products, residues of pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, PAHs, radionuclides, mycotoxins, shellfish biotoxins toxicological aspects (e.g. ADI, TDI), human health effects, mechanisms of action, prevention and control, EU and Codex legislation e.g. MRLs).

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Flexible
Course Start Date 05/08/2024
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Multi Choice Questions (formative)

(Group Exercise, if applicable) Case Scenario or outbreak investigation microbiology based including interpretation of lab results (summative) - 50%

Short presentation of scientific literature review to inform QMRA report (formative)

QMRA report including communication of results (summative) - 50%
Feedback Lecturer / course tutor will provide feedback as students carry out the weekly assignments on the discussion board and supportive live sessions for both these and the formative assessment.

Lecturer / course tutor will provide marks and feedback on the reports using marking rubric provided in the assessment guide for both assessments.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical awareness of current issues related to the presence, sources, exposures and control (HACCP) of microbiological and chemical hazards along the food chain.
  2. Apply knowledge and understanding of a range of laboratory techniques and instruments to isolate and identify the main microbiological hazards in a variety of food matrices.
  3. Deal with complex issues related to interpretation of laboratory microbiological results and make judgements in situations where there is absence or uncertainty in data / information presented.
  4. Exercise autonomy and initiative in conducting a robust qualitative microbiological and/or chemical risk assessment (QMRA).
  5. Communicate the results and the recommendations from the QMRA, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge / expertise.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Graduate Attributes, Personal and Professional Skills:
Knowledge and skills will include:

A. Research and Enquiry
Graduates of the University will be able to create new knowledge and opportunities for learning through the process of research and enquiry. This may be understood in terms of the following:
- be able to identify, define and analyse problems and identify or create processes to solve them
- be able to exercise critical judgment in creating new understanding
- be ready to ask key questions and exercise rational enquiry
- be able to critically assess existing understanding and the limitations of their own knowledge and recognise the need to regularly challenge all knowledge
- search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding
- have an informed respect for the principles, methods, standards, values and boundaries of their discipline(s) and the capacity to question these
- understand economic, legal, ethical, social, cultural and environmental issues in the use of information
B. Personal and Intellectual Autonomy
Graduates of the University will be able to work independently and sustainably, in a way that is informed by openness, curiosity and a desire to meet new challenges. This may be understood in terms of the following:
- be independent learners who take responsibility for their own learning, and are committed to continuous reflection, self-evaluation and self-improvement
- be able to make decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought, taking into account ethical and professional issues
- be able to use collaboration and debate effectively to test, modify and strengthen their own views
- be intellectually curious and able to sustain intellectual interest
- be able to respond effectively to unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar contexts
C. Communication
Graduates of the University will recognise and value communication as the tool for negotiating and creating new understanding, collaborating with others, and furthering their own learning. This may be understood in terms of the following:
- make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding
- use communication as a tool for collaborating and relating to others
- further their own learning through effective use of the full range of communication approaches
- seek and value open feedback to inform genuine self-awareness
- recognise the benefits of communicating with those beyond their immediate environments
- use effective communication to articulate their skills as identified through self-reflection
D. Personal Effectiveness
Graduates of the University will be able to effect change and be responsive to the situations and environments in which they operate. This may be understood in terms of the following:
- appreciate and use talents constructively, demonstrating self-discipline, motivation, adaptability, persistence and professionalism
- be able to manage risk while initiating and managing change
- be able to flexibly transfer their knowledge, learning, skills and abilities from one context to another
- understand social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and issues
- be able to work effectively with others, capitalising on their different thinking, experience and skills.

KeywordsPathogens,food hazards,foodborne,residues,microbiology,HACCP,food safety management systems
Course organiserDr Ruth Fowler
Tel: (0131 6)51 7374
Course secretaryMrs Emma Pineau
Tel: (0131 6)51 9198
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