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Course Description

gloved hands placing chicken meat specimen in petri dish in science lab

An introduction to the major groups of microorganisms important in foods is presented in this course, including microbial spoilage of food, food-borne illness, and food fermentations. Sources of contamination during production, processing and storage of foods and evaluation of food processing conditions used to control the presence and/or growth of microorganisms in foods are discussed.

Note:  This course may be taken individually or as a part of a certificate program.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Identify the names and characteristics of microorganisms commonly found in foods;
  2. Describe how different factors in foods affect microbial growth and how this is applied to food preservation and/or production;
  3. Use predictive microbial growth programs with various food case studies to examine growth of food-borne pathogens and spoilage microbes;
  4. Outline the government role in maintaining food safety;
  5. Describe the approaches used in applying yeasts, molds and bacteria during food fermentations;
  6. Describe the characteristics of common food pathogens and explain how these can be used to aid investigations into food-borne illness outbreaks;
  7. Describe the principle methods used to detect and enumerate microorganisms in food and calculate the number of bacteria in a food product;
  8. Outline proper handling, preparation and storage practices for food safety;
  9. Discuss the merits of HACCP implementation in the food industry;
  10. Apply the sequential steps involved in devising HACCP plans to various food case studies;
  11. Conduct independent literature research;
  12. Formulate an informed opinion on food safety issues when presented with conflicting information; and
  13. Participate in online academic discussions, and assess peer contributions.

Course Topics

  • How microbes work
  • Microbial growth
  • Food spoilage
  • Fermentations
  • Foodborne disease
  • Enumeration and rapid detection techniques
  • Control of microbial growth
  • Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP)

Additional Requirements

Prerequisite(s): 1 of BIOL*1040, BIOL*1070, MICR*2420
Restriction(s): FOOD*3230. FOOD*3240. Not available to students registered in BSC.FOOD or BSC.FOOD:C majors.


Assessment Item Weight
Hot Topic Discussions 10%
Peer Assessments of Group Discussions 10%
Assignment 1: Microbial Growth Prediction 15%
Assignment 2: Food Safety Training Presentation Report 15%
Assignment 3: Unit Summary 5%
Online Final Exam 45%
Total 100%

Note: You are required to get a passing grade on the final exam in order to pass the course.


Additional Technical Requirements

This course will use the Respondus tool to invigilate one or more exams. In order to use Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor, you must meet the following technical requirements:

  1. Operating Systems: Windows 10, 8, 7; Mac OS X 10.10 or higher.
  2. Memory: Windows 2 GB RAM; Mac 512 MB RAM.
  3. For Mac users: Safari must function properly on the computer.
  4. Mac users must have Adobe Flash Player installed to Safari, even if a different browser is normally used.
  5. Functioning webcam and microphone. The webcam and microphone can be built into your computer or can be the type that plugs in with a USB cable. (You will be required to do an environment scan of your room, so please ensure you can move your computer, laptop or webcam for this scan.)
  6. A broadband Internet connection. It is recommended that you access the Internet via a wired connection.


Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

You are responsible for ensuring that your computer system meets the necessary system requirements. Use the browser check tool to ensure your browser settings are compatible and up to date (results will be displayed in a new browser window).

*Course details are subject to change.

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Introduction to Food Microbiology
September 09, 2021 to December 03, 2021
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Domestic Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $795.00 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $2,908.38 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
Section Notes

Note:  If you are in a degree program at the University of Guelph, please DO NOT register using the link above.  You must register through WebAdvisor.

Section Materials
  • Textbook (Unconfirmed) (Mandatory) Fundamental Food Microbiology by Bibek Ray and Arun Bhunia © 2013 CRC Press 5th edition ISBN 9781466564435
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