FZMATPR03-Risk Analysis in the Food Chain

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2012/3

Module Convenor: Dr David Jukes

Email: d.j.jukes@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
Ensuing the safety of the food supply is a key requirement for all stakeholders - this includes the primary producers, food manufacturers, distributors and retailers. In addition, governments have a key role in ensuring that food reaching consumers is safe and that adequate controls are applied. The application of risk analysis principles is considered an important tool for achieving this. This module explains the components of risk analysis (risk assessment, risk management and risk communication) and looks at their use and application by the different stakeholders. In particular, through the use of a group exercise built around the activities of a national food control authority and using recommended good practices, participants will investigate an actual food risk and develop an appropriate management strategy.

The module considers how risk analysis is incorporated into the maintenance of a safe food supply throughout the food chain. It aims to help participants recognise how the elements of risk analysis are applied and the role of different stakeholders. By the correct application of these elements, participants will be better able to ensure food safety.

Assessable learning outcomes:
On successful completion of the module student will be able to:

  • describe the key elements of risk analysis
  • explain how risk analysis is applied in different parts of the food chain
  • undertake risk assessment activities, identify appropriate risk management options and develop suitable risk communication strategies

Additional outcomes:
Student will have enhanced group working skills and presentational skills

Outline content:
Introductory distance learning material provided via a virtual learning environment (VLE) will describe the key elements of risk analysis as applied to the food chain and prepare participants for the intensive study week. The development of risk analysis is put into the context of past and current issues in the food chain (e.g. BSE/CJD and GM food). The application of risk analysis to different parts of the food chain will be considered. Participants, working in groups of 3-5, will undertake a problem-based learning exercise where risk assessment and risk management issues are applied to a current problem in the food chain (e.g. aflatoxin in nuts, antibiotic residues in seafood, mercury contamination in fish). This will lead to the submission of a group report and presentation to the class. After the intensive study week, participants will undertake an individual task considering the issue of risk communication either based on their group task or on an issue linked to their employment.

Global context:
The issues discussed and the procedures studied have application universally around the globe. Although largely based on European approaches to risk analysis, they are used internationally.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module consists of some preliminary distance learning material, a series of lectures and presentations covering different aspects of risk analysis and its application to the food chain. A major component will be a problem based learning group exercise. To conclude, participants undertake an individual task.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 22
Seminars 4
Tutorials 14
Work-based learning 30
Guided independent study 30
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:

Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 30
Report 30
Oral assessment and presentation 20
Set exercise 20

Other information on summative assessment:
In preparation for the study-week, students will be required to undertake two tasks and upload them onto the VLE for discussion. These will be submitted at least one week before the study-week. This will assist in the preparation for the intensive week by covering both the theory of risk analysis and the practical issues relating to the group task. On the final day of the study-week the group presentation will be given and the group report submitted. The individual task will be agreed during the study-week and will be completed during the following 4 weeks.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall in all assessed work.

Reassessment arrangements:
Resubmission of coursework elements.

Last updated: 8 November 2012

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