Courses in food microbiology are available as individual, professional advancement courses that focus on food processing, as well as through bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in nutrition and food science. Graduates of such degree programs often earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Food Science, Master of Science (MS) in Food Science or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Food Science. Depending on the institution, students interested in earning a master's degree may need to possess a bachelor's degree in the field; those wishing to earn a doctoral degree may be required to hold a master's degree in the field.
Some of the most commonly encountered concepts in food microbiology courses include:
- Microbial ecology
- Organic chemistry
- Evaluating food appearance, taste and texture
- Dairy product evaluation
- Food preservation
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List of Common Food Microbiology Courses
Introduction to Microbiology Course
This course provides students with general information on microbiology, such as the classification of various microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. Students interested in food science use this course to gain information on potentially dangerous microorganisms that can be introduced during food processing and preservation. Methods in microbe detection and control are highlighted.
Principles of Food Microbiology Course
A course in food microbiology focuses specifically on issues of food spoilage caused by the presence of food-borne pathogens. Students are instructed in methods of sanitation and preservation during food preparation and processing. Courses in food microbiology usually include a laboratory component that allows students to handle live microbial samples and practice methods of destruction.
Instruction in Quality Assurance Procedures Course
Students are introduced to standards of quality assurance that help prevent the spread of food poisoning microbes. They are instructed in inspection methods, which are associated with each stage of the food processing procedure. A laboratory session is often included with this course to provide students with the opportunity to practice inspection procedures.
Methods in Food Processing Course
This course provides students with instruction in the latest food processing technology. Topics include methods of refrigeration, material handling and food preservation. Some programs require students to complete courses in quality assurance prior to enrolling in a food-processing course.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Course
The HACCP system is used at all stages of the food production process to assess the condition of food. Risk assessment analysis is performed to detect the presence of material, chemical and biological hazards. This system includes identifying potential dangers, recommending corrective actions and verifying their completion through documentation.