58181 - Food Hygiene and Technologies

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Blended Learning
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Veterinary Medicine (cod. 8617)

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course the student will (should) know the principles of surveillance systems on foodborne zoonoses. They will understand how control measures and good hygienic practices can be used to eliminate or mitigate the hazards. They need to know how quality controls in the food production chain are actuated, how information on the food supply chain are gathered (monitoring and surveillance plans) and how/why management options are actuated. Students should be able to collaborate in epidemiological investigations during outbreaks of foodborne illness and how communicate information and data that make it possible to recognize the origin and take action to limit its spread. Students have to know the diagnostic techniques that allow detection, characterization and quantification of microorganisms that cause food borne illness. Students will (should) understand what are the factors that influence the proliferation, survival and death of microorganisms in food. The should be able to assess the risk associated with the production of food of animal origin. Students must know how to apply the HACCP system in order to ensure the production of safe foods. They have to understand how the food business operators define process objectives and if they are appropriate to achieve the food security objectives established by National and European provisions. Students should be able to actuate sampling plan for food and interpret their results. They should be acquainted with the microbiological criteria laid out by the current EU regulations. They should be able to evaluate the compliance of production facilities with the requirements laid down by hygienic regulations on the production of food of animal origin and how to prepare an audit report. They shoul be able to use databases and useful software to estimate the risk and the shelf life of food. They must know the principles of food preservation and the causes of alteration of a biological nature and the possible toxic effects resulting from microbial spoilage.

Course contents

1. Presentation of the course. Food supply chains and hygiene.

2. The microbial flora of food. Adaptation of bacteria to the foods’ characteristics. Spoilage microorganisms and indicators of the shelf life. Methods of storage and shelf life extension. Production of hams and salami, hurdle theory, function of salt, additive and use of starter cultures.

3. The microbial flora of meat and slaughter hygiene.

4. The microbial flora of milk. Milking Hygiene, safety aspects of milk processing and cheese production

5. Food sampling for monitoring and characterization methods of microorganisms. Surveillance of foodborne diseases.

6. Use of predictive models to estimate the growth, survival and death of microorganisms in food production processes. Tutorials using the Combase Software.

7. Food botulism: pathogenetic, epidemiological aspects and control methods.

8. Listeriosis, microbiological criteria, ready-to-eat products.

9. Adaptation of the microorganisms to the enteric environment. Virulence factors and pathogenetic mechanisms of the main enteric pathogenic bacteria and extra-intestinal complications (Online Lessons).

10. Etiology, characterization, clinical aspects and methods of control of Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Campylobacter infections. Biosecurity measures on farms and at slaughterhouses.

11. Investigation of foodborne disease outbreaks: methods of surveillance and recognition of an outbreak of foodborne illness; investigations to develop hypotheses, data analysis, calculation of the odds ratio with and without matching, traceability, control methods (Online Lessons and tutorial on an outbreak investigation).

12. Hygiene and diseases transmitted by fishery products.

13. Cleaning, disinfection and pest control procedures in the food industry.

14. Exercise on monitoring and verification procedures in self-control plans.

15. Structural and hygienic and sanitary requirements of production plants, self-control plans and standard operating procedures, the HACCP system.


Educational materials consist of recommended text books and of keynotes and documents available to students in the appropriate https://virtuale.unibo.it/ website or via the website of the teacher of the course http://www. unibo.it / teachers / marcello.trevisani 

The recommended text books are:

- Various Authors (by Giampaolo Colavita). Hygiene and technology of food of animal origin. Point Veterinaire Italie. 2012 

Teaching methods

The teaching consists of lectures (35 hours), online lessons on the portal Virtuale (6 hours)  and practical classes (7 x 4 hours)

a. Lectures

They provide an illustration of the production chains of food (meat, fish and dairy products) in order to make the students appreciate what aspects are most critical and how the implementation of good hygiene practices and controls process to guarantee food security in compliance with the rules. For the constraints of time and availability of facilities (slaughter faculty, stable and dairy) will be used also videos and pictures to facilitate the understanding of the different, important production chains.

b. Practical lessons

These are mainly carried out by dividing the students into two groups in shifts of 2 hours.

Case studies will be used to evaluate the control methods for the microbial hazards in food by adopting a predictive microbiology approach

An interactive software will be used to learn the investigation methods that are used to detect the origin of foodborne outbreaks and implement control measures.

At the faculty slaughterhouse the students will approach the hygiene auditing in beef slaughterhouse and the use of checklists for slaughterhouse structure.

Assessment methods

The examination at the end of the course aims to assess the achievement of the main learning objectives:
1) Ability to gather and interpret in an effective and comprehensive way the laboratory (microbiological) data and the reports of epidemic surveillance on major food borne illness;
2) Knowledge of food technology (used in processing of meat, milk and dairy products, fish products) hazard assessment (raw materials and processes) of control measures (CCP) and the principles of hygiene
3) Ability to appreciate the pathogenic mechanisms, the potential for growth and survival in foods of the main biological agents responsible for diseases with food and their ability to resist treatment of storage and preparation of food for consumption.

The final grade of the course "Safety and food hygiene" consists of the synthesis of the final evaluations of the different topics that are treated in the course. The evaluation is expressed with a mark out of thirty for the exams. The test is passed with a score of at least 18/30. The student has the right to refuse the verbalization of the proposed positive grade. Students with DISABILITIES or SLDs must contact the teacher to have adaptations to teaching during the lesson phase or in the final evaluation phase. They will do it by email, by entering the reference staff they are followed by the faculty in the C/C.

The weighted average of the scores get for each module will be recorded in the exam report. Laude is given when the maximum score has been given for all the modules.

The evaluation of the students for the module of 'Food Hygiene and Technology' consists of a written test that aims to evaluate the ability to make choices in the management of food safety through the application of HACCP principles. The test is preferably done at the end of the course and consists of two parts: a test concerning the estimation of microbiological risk (with the help of the Combase software) and a test with multiple-choice, short-answer questions and a short paper. During the practical exercises, students will be guided in the use of estimation models and in the analysis of risk factors. Test tests, similar to those the teacher uses for the exam, are available on the 'virtual' didactic portal. Students will be able to take or repeat the written test also in the sessions (winter and summer window). The 'Combase' test will take place in the 3 days preceding the exam dates (response time 45 minutes) through the Online Exams (EOL) platform. On the day of the exam, in the same way, there will be a written test on the other topics of the course (response time 90 minutes). In informing the students of the results, the teacher will indicate, if there is at least a sufficient score, which were the main topics in which gaps emerged. Students can decide to take an integrative oral exam that will focus on these specific points. The answers will allow to improve the evaluation.

Teaching tools

Keynotes of lectures and didactic documents used for the practical training are published in the UniBo server, in the section 'virtual learning environment'. Textbooks are available at the Department's library.

Office hours

See the website of Marcello Trevisani


Good health and well-being Responsible consumption and production

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.