Undergraduate Level Qualifications In Food Safety And Food Legislation

Student looking into microscopeWe offer a part-time qualification at undergraduate level in Food Safety and Food Legislation.

A Certificate of Higher Education in Food Safety and Food Legislation is a qualification issued by the University after successful completion of 120 credits of work in approved modules.  60 credits are studied in the first year at a level equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree and the final 60 credits are studied in the second year at a level equivalent to the second year of an undergraduate degree.

The Higher Certificate In Food Premises Inspection

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has approved the Certificate of Higher Education in Food Safety and Food Legislation as an accredited route to the Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspection.

Candidates successfully completing the Certificate of Higher Education in Food Safety and Food Legislation will be recognised by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health as having completed the academic element of the Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspection.

Candidates wishing to register with the Environmental Health Registration Board (EHRB) will also need to complete six months structured training within a Local Authority and complete the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health interview.

Read previous student Nicholas West's full alumni profile.

Certificate of Higher Education in Food Safety and Food Legislation Course Description

The Certificate of Higher Education in Food Safety and Food Legislation provides specialist learning opportunities in food safety to practitioners in the food industry who are in supervisory, training or management positions and to Local Authority Inspectors. The programme will be of interest if you:

  • Supervise a catering section or food production unit
  • Are a head chef in a large catering kitchen
  • Manage a housekeeping, catering or food production section
  • Are responsible for writing or implementing food safety systems such as HACCP
  • Provide advice or training on food safety, food hygiene or law
  • Are a technical officer in a Local Authority with responsibility for food
  • Have a particular interest in food safety and food law

There are no formal entrance requirements for the Certificate of Higher Education in Food Safety and Food Legislation. However, Candidates will be expected to have either formal or experiential knowledge of the rudiments of food hygiene and food safety.

Typically candidates might have a City & Guilds 706 plus several years experience in catering, or an Intermediate or Advanced Food Hygiene Certificate from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. Candidates who are unsure whether their experience will be appropriate should contact the course co-ordinator to discuss the matter.

Applicants may be asked to complete a short piece of written work and may be interviewed to help establish that the course is appropriate for their needs.

The University reserves the right to limit entry to those whom the programme tutors consider will benefit from and successfully complete the programme.

The aims of the programme are:

  • To increase your knowledge of common food legislation and the general framework in which it functions.
  • To provide a fundamental understanding of the principles of Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment (HACCP) in relation to food safety
  • To provide accurate and up to date information on the common food borne pathogens and their significance in terms of food safety.
  • To provide sufficient background information for candidates to be able to critically assess with current issues in food safety.
  • To cover the academic syllabus for the Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspection.

Alumni Profile



Programme structure

Both years are 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 Birmingham University (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 January and May. In the second year attendance requirements consist typically of one, three-day block per month. Total contact time in each year is approximately 22 days.

Year One

Year One  has been designed to cover the fundamentals of Food Safety and Food Law. The basic microbiology is covered, and the emphasis is on the Food safety Act 1990 and horizontal directives legislation. This year consists of three modules:

Module 1: Food Inspection

The module covers the identification and examination of the common foods and food sources and judgment on their fitness for human consumption

Module 2: Introduction to Food Law, Food Safety & Risk Assessment

Lectures, case studies and required reading, including a three day block on HACCP.  Assessment via examination, case studies and poster presentation.

OPTION: Level 3 Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing

The Department of Chemical Engineering is authorised to offer the Royal Society for Public Health Level 3 Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing.  Candidates may, if they wish, write an additional examination and if successful gain this qualification at the cost charged by the RSPH which is currently £45.

Module 3: Premises Inspection

Inspection of a premises covered by Regulation(EC) no 852/2004 and the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 (or relevant national regulations).  Assessment is by report and viva.

Year Two

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

The module will cover Legislation relating to composition and labelling, chemical safety, marketing standards, allergens and additives legislation. Food adulteration and authenticity, the role of the Public analyst and the limits of common techniques will also be considered.

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.


Enquiries regarding any of the courses should be made in the first instance to the course administrator:

Iain Ferris
Chemical Engineering
University of Birmingham, Edgbaston
Birmingham, B15 2TT.
Email: i.ferris@bham.ac.ukTel:(+44) (0)121 414 5336

How to apply

Application forms may be obtained from the course secretary. The closing date for applications is the 31st August in the year the programme starts. Early application is advised as there are limited places available. Late applications will be considered if places are still available on the programme.


The University charges annual tuition fees; details of these fees are available from the Course Secretary, whose contact details are given above.  In addition, students will need to provide for their living expenses, for instance, accommodation, food, travel, books and leisure.

Further Study

On completion of the Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspection, candidates may choose to undertake further specialist study. The following options are also offered by the University of Birmingham:

This information is prepared well in advance to provide information before you apply, and therefore there may be alterations to courses or facilities.