FB3AFQ-Advanced Food Quality, Safety and Sensory

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites: FB2FQS Food Quality and Sensory Science
Non-modular pre-requisites: Successful completion of Part 2 of BSc courses in Food Science, Food Technology with Bioprocessing, Nutrition and Food Science, Food Science with Business or Nutrition with Food Consumer Sciences.
Modules excluded: FBMFCM Food Control Management FBMM2A Food Microbiology and Safety A FBMM2B Food Microbiology and Safety B
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Prof Lisa Methven

Email: L.Methven@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module provides advanced elements of food quality, safety and sensory science. This will include measurement, assessment and control measures beyond those covered in the introductory module (FB2FQS). Within sensory science we will discuss (a): an advanced insight into taste and olfaction through receptors to perception (b) descriptive and quantitative sensory methods (c) dynamic sensory methods and d) recent advances in sensory methods. In issues linked to food quality and safety topics will include further aspects of quality management systems including HACCP, statistical methods in food quality assurance and more detailed consideration of selected aspects of legislation.


  • To provide a detailed understanding of the sensory perception of flavour (taste and aroma) and mouthfeel of foods.

  • By developing an understanding of the mechanism of perception and the use of laboratory-based sensory methods, enable students to organise and run sensory evaluation trials in industry and research.

  • To enhance a student’s ability to contribute to the maintenance and development of appropriate food quality and safety management systems meeting customer, consumer and legal requirements.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

  • discuss the physiology and psychology taste, aroma and texture perception

  • screen, select and train sensory assessors

  • critically evaluate a wide range of sensory methods and decide which techniques to use to answer a range of food quality, product development, cost release and market research questions

  • design and conduct a range of sensory analysis procedures

  • statistically analyse data from a range of sensory methods

  • devise and operate suitable methods for statistical process controls of food manufacturing

  • participate in the establishment and operation of food quality management systems (including HACCP) for the production of safe and quality foods

  • . enhance knowledge of regulatory matters, which are under debate or are in transition 

Additional outcomes:
Students will have the opportunity to take the IFST (Institute of Food Science and Technology) Certificate for Sensory Training at intermediate level. They will have enhanced skills in the application of statistical methods to the analysis of complex sensory and quality data sets. The module will also enhance student's ability in web-based literature searches and provide an opportunity for group working.

Outline content:

Topics covered include:

  • Quality: detailed consideration of elements of food quality management systems (QMS) including  QMS documentation, auditing and risk assessment techniques as well as a more detailed Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points study.

  • Legislation: current issues in food regulation. An opportunity to enhance knowledge of regulatory matters which are under debate or are in transition so as to prepare students for future employment within the food and allied industries.

  • Statistical Process Control (SPC): SPC fundamentals and control charts

  • Microbiological Sampling Plans: consideration of the development and use of appropriate microbiological standards and sampling plans.

  • Physiology and psychology of perception

  • Analytical and affective sensory methodologies, focusing on sensory profiling and dynamic methods. Assessor screening, training and monitoring for sensory profiling panels.

  • Statistical analysis of sensory and quality data sets

  • The practical aspects of the course cover the use of profiling methods to evaluate the sensory attributes of foods.

  • Some lectures from external speakers will be provided. 

Global context:
Although the main quality and legislation focus will be on issues of importance to the UK food industry, the issues are in fact global and the different components will be relevant and have application in the food industry in any country in the world.
The sensory properties of foods have a major role in food choice and diet as well as in the commercial success of manufactured food products. This module equips students with the knowledge and skills to carry out relevant sensory evaluation of foods as well as the ability to discuss individual differences in perception which may impact on food choice and therefore have global health implications.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module is taught using a combination of formal lectures to provide the theoretical background to the subject, internet-based course material, practical classes and data seminars. The HACCP study is completed as a group task in the form of problem-based learning. A sensory practical class and the data seminar support the learning material in the sensory lectures.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 30 14
Seminars 4 14
Practicals classes and workshops 4
Guided independent study: 62 72
Total hours by term 100 100
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 35
Written assignment including essay 15
Report 30
Class test administered by School 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

120 minute examination contributing to 35% of the module mark (material covered in the examination excludes the sensory science topics and HACCP which are assessed through the coursework)


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Following sensory practical classes and a data seminar students complete an assignment to both concisely report and discuss their evaluation of food products and in addition prepare a document reflecting on sensory assessor performance and feedback. This is the written assignment that contributes 15% of the module mark. There is a 1 hour test in Sensory Science at end of autumn term that contributes 20% of the module mark; this also enables students to gain an IFST intermediate certificate in sensory science.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    40% overall in all assessed work

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Examination in August / September  (retake examination includes all material covered in the module, including sensory science and HACCP ).

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    The IFST test costs £15 per person (payable to the IFST). If a student does not want to take this externally accredited test they can be set a similar alternative class test with no additional cost (this must be discussed with the module convenor)

    Last updated: 8 April 2019


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