FHM-30306 Risk Assessment of Foods


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical intensively supervised20
Problem-based learning15
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. T Abee
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. T Abee
prof. dr. ir. IMCM Rietjens
prof. dr. ir. MH Zwietering
S van der Veen
dr. ir. A Punt
prof. dr. RA Woutersen
dr. ir. MW den Besten
Examiner(s)prof. dr. T Abee
dr. GM Alink
prof. dr. ir. MH Zwietering

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

TOX-30306 Food Toxicology, FHM-22306 Advanced Food Microbiology

Continuation courses:

FHM-61312 Food Safety Management, Thesis FHM


This course is a combination of formal lectures, case studies, laboratory classes and written and oral presentations. In the case studies, small groups of students will work on a risk assessment of different food products, which will be finalised by a group report. The course will provide an overview of the most important bacterial, myco- and fycotoxins, their presence and mechanisms of toxic action and detoxification mechanisms. Bacterial virulence mechanisms and host responses will be discussed, including dose-response relationships. The effect of processing (e.g. heating) on food safety, including survival of pathogens, formation of heterocyclic amines, PAKs and oxidation products are reviewed. Microbiological and Toxicological risk assessment will be discussed including predictive modelling techniques and genetic polymorphisms for detoxication in man. In addition, during the practical course, experience with techniques to detect (microbial) toxins will be obtained using rapid detection assays and reporter systems.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of this course a student is expected to be able to:
- describe the occurrence of foodborne pathogens and the production of a wide range of bacterial, myco- and fycotoxins together with their mode of action;
- understand the role of processing on the occurrence of toxic compounds and the level of pathogens present;
- describe host responses to pathogens and their toxins;
- understand differentiation in human sensitivity for these toxins based on lifestyle factors or genetic polymorphisms resulting in various dose-response relationships;
- define and acquire tools for setting up microbiological/toxicological risk evaluations;
- to explain the results of a combined microbiological and toxicological risk assessment in an oral presentation nad a written report;
- handle and apply detection methods and reporter systems for (microbial) toxins.


The activities consist of formal lectures, laboratory classes, written and oral presentations and case studies.


The final grade is based on a written theory examination which accounts for 70% of the grade (with 5.5 as a minimum grade) and on written and oral presentations of the case study (30%). The theoretical background of the laboratory classes can be included in the theory exam.


Combined hand outs covering the seminars will be available at the WUR-Shop. A guide book for laboratory work will be made available during the course.

Compulsory for: MFSFood SafetyMSc5MO