Food Microbiology and Safety

Subject FOOD20006 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: three 1-hour lectures & one 2-hour laboratory practicals per week
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated total time commitment (including non-contact time): 216 hours.


BIOL10004 Biology of Cells and Organisms OR BIOL10002 Biomolecules and Cells

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

Students are expected to be familiar with word processing, data management and graphical software packages and to be competent in electronic search techniques.

This subject requires attendance at lectures and active participation in practicals and tutorials.

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Melbourne School of Land & Environment Student Centre
Ground Floor, Land & Food Resources (building 142)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

Microbes (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites and other agents) can be associated with food in several ways:

  • as components of the fermentation processes that are associated with the development of flavours and textures of food and its preservation;
  • as the normal microflora that is associated with the origins of the food and persist during storage, possibly contributing to food spoilage; and
  • as contaminants that enter food during processing or through subsequent mishandling, often posing public health risks.

However, as foods must be safe and fit for human consumption, this subject aims to familiarise students with major food spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms.

The content will cover:

  • the kinetics of bacterial growth and the factors that may alter this (water activity, low pH, temperature, preservatives);
  • the principles of modelling growth;
  • the principles of hazard and risk assessment in microbiological safety; and
  • the role of microbes in food processing, including examples of specific fermentation processes and waste treatment.

Practical exercises and case studies will be undertaken to provide an in-depth understanding of the regulatory framework of food safety.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students should be able to:

  • describe concepts of normal flora and pathogenic microbes;
  • understand how microbes interact and impact on food;
  • understand the basics of identifying, classifying and enumerating microbes important in agri-food systems;
  • use bright field light microscopy as a tool for identifying microbes; and
  • use aseptic techniques for the transfer and handling enumerating and identifying microorganisms in food samples.
  • Five practical reports, 1000 words total (25%).
  • One assignment, 1000 words (25%).
  • One 2-hour examination (50%).

Completion of at least 10 (80%) of the laboratory practicals is a hurdle requirement to pass the course.

Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

Food Microbiology: a laboratory manual by Ahmed Elmeleigy Yousef, Carolyn Carlstrom;

Fundamental Food Microbiology by Bibek Ray and Arun Bhunia


Food Microbiology by Martin R Adams and Maurice O Moss, 3rd edition


Essentials of Food Microbiology by John Garbutt

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • enhanced skills in preparing reports based on practical experience;
  • ability to analyse and integrate information from published and publicly available literature; and
  • teamwork capability for completion of case study tasks in a timely fashion.

This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (new degree only).

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED

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