Short course

Food Control Systems

Food Hygiene Course - FutureLearn. Develop your working knowledge of laws, legislations, and issues in food control and pursue a career in environmental health.

Start date
31 January 2022
Duration
12 weeks part-time
Time commitment
10 hours a week
Mode
Online (through FutureLearn)
Cost
Fees for 2021 are £750
Subject
Food Safety and Control
Level
CPD Postgraduate Microcredential
Credit
10 credits
Assessment
Coursework equivalent to a 2500 word essay

Build your understanding of food hygiene to gain a professional competitive edge

The food and drink industry is the largest industrial sector in the UK with a gross value added of £190 billion. It’s also the largest employer in the UK, employing 4.7 million people.

On this microcredential, you’ll gain expertise in the field of food safety, hygiene, and management to help you stand out in this competitive sector.

You’ll discover the latest advances in the fast-changing UK and international food legislation and standards, and explore the career opportunities available to you in the field of food safety.

If you’re a food safety inspector or work in a food business and want to develop your legal knowledge around food safety, this microcredential will help you increase your understanding to progress your career.

Understand the common mechanisms of food control

The implementation and enforcement of food hygiene and food standards legislation are key components in food control.
You’ll discover how the delivery of food control is always carried out within a National Food Control System. Using various countries as models, you’ll examine the structure and purpose of these systems to understand how they are used as the framework for food safety and control.

Examine food laws including the Food Safety Act

Food safety enforcement varies between countries according to the relevant legal system but there are commonalities, such as inspection, sampling, licencing and registration.
You’ll look at the UK as an example to illustrate the delivery of food control. You’ll develop a good understanding of the English legal system and the sources of food law, as well as becoming familiar with crucial frameworks such as the Food Safety Act 1990.
With this knowledge, you’ll understand that on a global scale, the law impacts food and principles can be used and implemented to enable safe food.

Understand the roles of the Food Standards Agency and European Commission

Despite country variations, members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) base domestic legislation on international standards. You’ll examine these in the context of the EU and UK to understand how international standards can be implemented in domestic legislation.
You’ll learn how to access, read, and apply food safety legislation issued by the Food Standards Agency and the European Commission to help you identify the roles and impacts of these enforcement bodies.

Apply your understanding of food law

Once you become comfortable in your understanding of food law, you’ll be able to identify how to use it correctly in typical situations and determine a suitable course of action
Examining the range of options available to enforcement officers, you’ll look at case studies to learn how to take the appropriate action, give advice, and carry out enforcement in relation to food safety.

Understand the issues associated with environmental health

You’ll also consider the factors that can impact the delivery of food controls, such as enforcement policy, industry structure, and resources.
Engaging with food safety specialists, you’ll be supported as you discuss the legal, moral, and practical issues associated with food safety and food hygiene legislation.
By the end of this microcredential, you’ll be able to identify complex factors that affect legislation development as you increase your understanding of food control and law.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will this help me become an environmental health officer?

The University of Birmingham is the first (and currently only one of two) higher education institutions in the UK to offer high quality, targeted courses for food inspectors.
Many environmental health officers who are currently working in local authorities across the UK are alumni of our food safety courses. This course is an affordable and flexible way of offering the skills and knowledge you need to become an environmental health officer.

Is this suitable for experienced food inspector officers?

All enforcement officers working for the local authorities are required to complete a certain number of compulsory CPD hours each year. This microcredential counts towards that.

Does this include a digital certificate?

Upon successful completion of this microcrediential, you can build up 10 academic credits towards a postgraduate degree (PgCert, PgDip, MSc). This makes you eligible for advanced entry to the University of Birmingham’s MSc (Taught) Food Safety, Hygiene and Management Full-time.
You will also receive a digital certificate to recognise your work during this microcredential.

Will I need to take an exam to pass?

Throughout the microcredential, you’ll take informal quizzes to help cement your understanding and self-evaluate your progress against learning objectives.
You’ll then take a final summative assessment in the form of an online quiz and a written piece of work.
The minimum pass mark for each piece of summative work is 50%. All assignments will be marked and returned to learners within three working weeks of the submission date. The grade, along with detailed feedback, will be communicated to you by email. Certificates are sent to your correspondence addresses no later than three weeks after you have received the email confirmation of the successful completion of the course.

Is this microcredential right for you?

If you’re an existing environmental officer or looking to pursue a career in this field, this microcredential will help you build the skills and knowledge to confidently work in the sector.

This microcredential will be of particular use if you have a keen interest in working in local authorities as a food enforcement officer (FEO) or environmental health officer (EHO), or with enforcement bodies and trading standards.

It will also suit you if you are already working in the role and looking to take an accredited course as part of your compulsory CPD.

You may be interested in our Food Safety, Hygiene and Management Masters course >>

Entry requirements

This microcredential is designed for those with formal or experiential knowledge of the basic principles of food hygiene and safety.

It will be beneficial if you also have an intermediate or advanced level qualification in food hygiene (from Chartered Institute of Environmental Health or other equivalent) plus several years experience in catering and/or manufacturing roles. If you are unsure whether your experience is appropriate for the course, you can contact the course coordinator to discuss.

Contact information
Dr Amir Anvarian, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, Email: a.h.p.anvarian@bham.ac.uk

This microcredential programme consists of three parts, offered as three interrelated FutureLearn courses which will be delivered during a 12 weeks period.

Programme outcomes include

Define food control systems and explain why they are needed​

Explain the main components of a national food control system, including the legal basis for its development and structure, and using examples, demonstrate how these components can be implemented .​

Explain how the underlying principles of Risk Analysis can be used in a control system to protect public health​

Discuss, using examples and published literature, the various issues which can impact on the delivery of food controls, including resources, enforcement, industry structure and standards, trading arrangements and political culture.​

Module 1:

Course 1: Definition of Food Control Systems (3 weeks)

Food Control is the term given to actions carried out to ensure food is safe and of the required quality. The implementation and enforcement of food hygiene and food standards legislation are key components in food control. You’ll start this course by discussing what food control is in general terms, why it’s so important, and how it’s regulated and enforced.

Once you have the basics, we will guide you through how the delivery of food control is always carried out within a national food control system, and how these systems are structured. Even though each country’s control systems differ, there are commonalities between them, such as inspection, sampling, licencing, and registration. Using various countries as models, you’ll examine the structure and purpose of these systems to understand how they are used as the framework for food safety and control.

Module 2:

Course 2: The Legal Foundations for National Food Control (2 weeks)

In this part we will cover the following topics in order to explore existing national food control systems in the context of the Codex Alimentarius guidance and FAO/WHO evaluation tools. Explore the legislation that affects the UK’s food controls

Legislation varies greatly between countries, even when it comes to food controls. However, certain global organisations have created base legislation for their members, such as the World Trade Organisation’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement and the Codex Alimentarius texts.

This part will take you through the legislation surrounding food control that affects the UK to ensure you have an up to date and thorough knowledge of legislation, approved codes of practice, guidance and other relevant documentation. Using the UK as an example, you’ll delve into the delivery of food controls, developing a good understanding of the English legal system and the sources of food law.

You’ll learn the roles of the Food Standards Agency and the European Commission within food control systems, as well as becoming familiar with crucial frameworks such as the Food Safety Act 1990.

On this course, you’ll examine international standards in the context of the EU and UK to understand how these standards can be implemented in domestic legislation. You’ll also learn how legislation affects imports and exports, as well as how to implement controls to manage them safely.

Module 3:

Course 3: Principles of Food Control Systems (7 Weeks)

The risk of unsafe food is difficult to completely eliminate so risk analysis focuses on which hazards pose the greatest risks, and what strategies or practices you can implement to provide the greatest reduction in risk. You’ll spend two weeks studying risk analysis, including what to look for, how to carry out the analysis, and the applications of risk analysis.

This will be followed by exploring the practical enforcement of food controls. You’ll look at the factors that can impact the delivery of food controls, such as enforcement policy, industry structure, and resources. Engaging with food safety specialists, you’ll be supported as you discuss the legal, moral, and practical issues associated with food safety and food hygiene legislation.

To round out the microcredential, you’ll be given a final summative assessment involving an online quiz and a written piece of work that allows you to apply everything you’ve learned within this course. You’ll then receive detailed feedback on your assessment along with a grade.

By the end of this microcredential, you’ll be able to identify complex factors that affect legislation development as you increase your understanding of food control and law.

This microcredential can be used to build up 10 academic credits towards a postgraduate qualification (PgCert, PgDip or MSc) in Food Safety, Hygiene and Management at the University of Birmingham.

The skills you will gain

Critical systemic thinking

Leadership,

Critical legal reading,

Problem solving

Investigation skills

Report writing

Food Safety

Food Hygiene

Meet your instructors

Ms Madeleine Smith

Ms Madeleine Smith, Reader in Food Safety

Madeleine Smith leads the University of Birmingham’s postgraduate food safety programmes. After completing a degree in Environmental Health, Madeleine began her career as an Environmental Health Officer with Birmingham City Council. She joined the University of Birmingham in 1997 and has since designed and developed a number of post graduate, undergraduate and CPD courses in food safety, building up the Food Safety Group to its current level.

In addition to the award bearing courses (MSc in Food Safety Hygiene and Management and Certificate of Higher Education in Food Safety & Food Legislation), the group offers specialist short courses to Competent Authorities in the UK and overseas as well as to the food industry.

Madeleine Smith's profile

Dr Amir Anvarian

Dr Amir Anvarian, Teaching Fellow in Food Safety

Amir Anvarian is a food scientist with expertise in food microbiology and particular interests in microbial stress response in food systems, novel detection methods of foodborne microorganisms and minimal processing. He delivers a wide range of food safety-related lectures, mainly on food microbiology and chemical safety of foods, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

In recent years, he has been primarily involved in developing higher education (HE) distance-learning courses in food science and food safety, both for academia and food industry. His work led to the development of the UK’s first BSc distance-learning degree apprenticeship course in food science and technology. He is currently focused on developing postgraduate distance learning courses with the aim of ensuing flexible and resilient HE teaching provisions.

Dr Amir Anvarian's profile

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