Course: Food Microbiology Basics

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Ever wondered what micro organisms have to do with yogurt? Wondered whether all micro organisms in food make you sick? Whether Salmonella continues to grow in the fridge? Wondering what micro organisms really are and why they’re important for food?

If so, you’re at the right place. This course will answer all the questions above and more!

This course is a ‘basics’ course, discussing some of the fundamentals of the field called food microbiology, which is one of the food science disciplines. We’ve got a separate course on food chemistry for you. In this course you’ll learn what micro organisms there are and you’ll learn that there are micro organisms that are good for you (and food) and those that aren’t. For a more complete overview, scroll down and read through the different sections before deciding whether this course is for you.

This course is for you if:

  • You’d like to become more familiar with the basic terminology used within the field of food microbiology.
  • You want to know which are the most commonly mentioned micro organisms when it comes to food.
  • You are curious to learn how micro organisms can be beneficial for your food.
  • You like to understand how food safety and food microbiology relate

This course is not for you if:

  • You’re looking for the health benefits of micro organisms. We do not focus on nutrition.
  • You want to get an overview of food safety legislation as it relates to microorganisms. We might mention some legislation here and there, but we won’t cover it extensively.
  • You want to know the current state of affairs with regards to recent food safety outbreaks caused by microorganisms. This course does cover trends and microorganisms to watch out for but no recent data.

Please note: we can take no responsibility for the consequence of food safety actions taken based on learnings from this course. Food safety is a very complex topic and this course is not able to discuss all (legal) aspects of it.

If you'd like to learn more about microbiology, there are various useful resources to go through. Some of these we've used extensively for putting together this course. If you are looking for more specific disease details of pathogenic micro organisms several of these resources may help you out.

When it comes to food disease and prevention there's a well known book, made by the FDA outlining all the most important food pathogens. It's appropriately called the 'bag bug book' and can be downloaded online.

For those speaking German, we'd recommend 'Lebensmittelmikrobiologie', a nice concise book discussing a wide variety of topics. Also a source I've used for this course, but with a lot more detail.

The resource we used (amongst others) to summarize the properties of most (pathogenic) micro organisms. The page on pathogenic micro organisms of UNL Food.

Food-info.net is a great resource to find more information on bacteria in food.

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