This two-year course is arranged as a combination of distance learning and block release. Each year comprises 60 credits of study. This equates to approximately 600 hours (100 days) of student effort.
Some of this takes place at University of Birmingham (lectures, tutorials and laboratory practicals), but a large proportion must take place in the students own time (distance learning and private study). Attendance at the university in the first year is concentrated mainly between September and May (on average, 3 days (Mon-Wed) per month during term time). In the second year attendance requirements consist typically of one, three-day block per month. Total contact time in each year is approximately 24 days.
Year One has been designed to cover the fundamentals of Food Safety and Food Law. Basic microbiology is covered, and the emphasis is on the Food safety Act 1990 and associated EU directives and domestic legislation. This year consists of three modules:
- Module 1: Food Inspection
This module covers the identification and examination of the common foods; food sources and judgment on their fitness for human consumption. Assessment is via completion of a workbook; a practical identification exam and an online exam.
Module 2: Introduction to Food Law, Food Safety & Risk Assessment
Introduction to food microbiology, basic food hygiene legislation, including sources of law, the interpretation and application of food safety legislation, and HACCP. Assessment is via an examination and five case studies.
OPTION: Level 3 Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing
The School of Chemical Engineering is certified to offer the Royal Society for Public Health Level 3 Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing. Candidates may, if they wish, take an additional examination at a cost of £28.00.
Module 3: Inspection
The final module will be a study based on a food inspection / audit. It will draw together all the principles from modules 1 & 2 and may involve use of techniques such as sampling, evidence gathering, auditing, developing systems, and comparison inspections etc. Assessment is via a food inspection report and an interview.
Year Two develops the principles of food safety further and concentrates on the application and understanding. The product specific legislation is dealt with in more depth. There is an emphasis on current trends and future issues. There are five modules.
- Module One: Food Microbiology
The common microbes associated with food, including methods for sampling and enumeration and control of food-borne illness. This module will consist of lectures, directed reading and self assessment questions, laboratory practicals, case studies and web based assignments.
- Module Two: Food Legislation
The main food hygiene legislation, including sources of law, the interpretation and application of food safety legislation, evidence gathering and legal procedure as they relate to contravention of food law. This module will comprise lectures, directed reading with self assessment questions, case studies and some visits.
- Module Three: Hygienic Management
Systems used to control food hazards, including cleaning, pest control, recall procedures, risk assessment systems and quality assurance. This module will consist of lectures, directed reading and web based assignments. There will be one laboratory practical.
- Module Four: Food Standards
This module looks at food standards legislation and application of the law, food labelling, compositional standards and requirements of food, allergens and imported foods. Students will also explore food adulteration and authenticity.
- Module Five: Food Technology
Application of the principles of food preservation and manufacture, to include their importance in food safety and hygiene. This module will comprise lectures, a laboratory practical, directed reading, a workbook and some visits.