Online Course Master English 7.5 ECTS

Microbial Food Safety in a Global Perspective – online course

Unsafe food containing harmful microorganisms cause millions to fall ill and costs billions of dollars in product re-calls.  In this course you will learn how to prevent food-borne disease and food waste associated with microbial pathogens.

You will learn about the occurrence, spread and transmission of pathogenic microorganisms in the food chain in a one-health perspective. You will obtain a thorough understanding of the biology of all relevant pathogens causing food-borne disease.

Furthermore, you will get to take a detailed look at the bacterial genome, and how DNA-based methods, such as whole genome sequencing, have become a preferred tool in outbreak investigations.

Through the course, we will discuss how food is contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and how globalization has resulted in an increasingly complex food chain.

The Danish commitment to producing safe food is widely recognized and in this course, experts from the University of Copenhagen and the Danish Serum Institute will share their expertise.

During the course, you will be working with:

  • Foodborne diseases and food spoilage
  • The kinetics of bacterial growth and how to reduce it
  • The microbiota of different classes of food products from farm to fork
  • The biology and epidemiology of foodborne pathogens of public health significance
  • The bacterial genome and its evolution
  • DNA-based methods in outbreak investigation
  • The transmission of antibiotic resistant bacteria via the food chain
  • Novel intervention strategies

Profile of participants

The course is relevant for employees in the public and private sector working with food production, particularly, in the intersection between sustainability, food safety and security, and innovation.

Learning Outcomes

Your outcome

Once you have completed the course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the microbiome of different types of food products
  • Explain the concepts of microbial growth
  • Describe how fermentation of food influences the microbiological quality and status of the food product
  • Introduce methods used to analyse the microbiome of food
  • Know the reservoir, transmission pathways, and clinical manifestations associated with the major food-borne viruses and bacterial pathogens causing food-borne disease
  • Present, interpret, and discuss cases of food borne outbreaks of infections caused by bacteria and viruses
  • Discuss how to prevent food borne outbreaks by bacterial pathogens and viruses
  • Describe the basic features of the bacterial genome and how it evolves
  • Explain the molecular mechanisms underlying bacterial evolution
  • Discuss the risks associated with transmission of antibiotic resistant bacteria via the food chain
  • Present, interpret, and discuss the principles of DNA-based methods and how they are used in outbreak investigations
  • Describe food policy and legislative framework in an international perspective
  • Discuss novel tools for preventing food-borne infections and how to balance food safety and food waste
  • Discuss the challenges to food safety imposed by the increasing globalization of the food supply chains

Outcome for your organization

Your organization gets an employee who will be able to:

  • Identify microbial hazards occurring in specific food products
  • Propose strategies to mitigate and control food-borne outbreaks of disease
  • Understand DNA-based methods used in investigation of food-born outbreaks
  • Balancing actions to optimize food safety and sustainable food production
  • React to national and international food safety issues

Admission requirements

The course is part of the Master’s programme Master of Sustainable and Safe Food Production.

You can follow the course as part of the Master’s programme or you can follow it as a single course.

Part of the Master’s programme

If you wish to follow the course as part of the Master of Sustainable and Safe Food Production, please go to the Master’s programme page and sign up for the Master’s programme.

Single course

If you wish to follow this course as a single course, please sign up by clicking the button ‘Add to basket’ in the top of the page.


To be admitted to this course, you must:

  • have achieved a relevant medium-cycle education (a professional bachelor’s degree or the like) or a long-cycle higher education programme
  • have a minimum of two years of work experience in the food science and technology field

Furthermore, you must have a solid foundation in the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, mathematics) as well as an understanding of technical processes in food production lines.

Recommended prerequisites

We recomment that you have theoretical knowledge about basic microbiology and experience from working in the field of food production.

Education sessions and exam

Education session

The course is taught online, the language of instruction is English.

The education sessions consist of e-lectures, Q&A sessions, assignments, casework and a final report.

The e-lectures are available online which means that you can watch them whenever from wherever.

Furthermore, you are offered weekly live Q&A sessions to get in dialogue with the course lecturer and fellow participants.

The majority of the course material will be provided during the course (selected chapters from textbooks, scientific articles, popular science articles, newspaper article, reference webpages).

Information about the software that will be used for the quantitative risk assessments will be provided at course start up.


The assessment consists of a written report, which counts for 75% of your grade, and an oral exam, which counts for 25% of the grade. The report must be written in English.

The course is offered in the spring in even years (2024, 2026 etc.)



6 weeks






15.000,00 DKK