Control of Foodborne Microorganisms

Course content

The course has special  focus on the interaction between microbiological safety and quality and food processing and preservation. It deals with qualitative and quantitative effects of physical and chemical preservation principles on microbial cells and populations and provides examples of the tools and programmes currently available for predictions of growth and inactivation. We shall also discuss sampling strategies and detection methods and the role of selection, injury, and adaptation in microrganisms. The application of the knowledge qualitatively and quantitatively in HACCP, design of safe processes, and risk assessment is discussed. If needed, there will be an initial brush-up on major foodborne pathogens, toxins and common spoilage microorganisms as well as central food hygiene issues.  


MSc Programme in Food Science and Technology
MSc Programme in Biochemistry

Learning outcome

The course has relevance to everyone interested in food processing, microbial food safety and quality assurance or inspection. The aim of the course is to provide the students with knowledge on hygiene, preservation processes and microbiological quality and safety assurance in order for them to apply this in the design of safe food processes and products including setting up HACCP programmes. 

Upon completion the students should be able to: 


  • Identify and characterize the major microbiological hazards in food productions 
  • Describe the common preservation principles 
  • Describe commonly used monitoring, sampling and detection methods 
  • Explain the general microbiological response to different preservation stresses 
  • Have insight in the elements and tools in predictive microbiology 
  • Have an overview of the role of hygiene in food safety and spoilage incl. contamination routes and intervention strategies


  • Explain the interaction between preservation principles, processing strategies and their impact on microbiological safety and quality 
  • Apply this knowledge in HACCP programmes for specific food productions  
  • Design and implement hygienic measures in the food, food ingredient and related industries 


  • Evaluate or develop HACCP-based microbiological safety assurance programmes 
  • Investigate and predict microbiological quality problems 
  • Take responsibility for basic food hygiene programmes from the processing steps to the consumer 
  • Communicate the scientific basis to peer groups

Lectures, theoretical and practical exercises, seminars, and project work. The lectures introduce different aspects of food preservation microbiology and the impact on quality and safety. The exercises, seminars, and project work will help the students to familiarize themselves with principles and methods as well as to discuss and communicate the science both orally and in writing.

See Absalon for a list of course literature. Reviews and scientific papers will be used. For basic background knowledge, most updated Food Microbiology books can be used.

Basic knowledge in food microbiology, food technology and skills in quality assurance incl. HACCP is assumed.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 min
Written assignment, during course
Oral examination in project report. The individual project topics are decided during the last part of the course. The individual reports are used as basis for oral presentation and examination.

Weight: Report 50%, oral examination 50 %
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Practical exercises
  • 14
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Theory exercises
  • 14
  • Colloquia
  • 12
  • Project work
  • 99
  • Guidance
  • 4
  • Preparation
  • 34
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206