Surrey University Stag


Module code: BMS3070

Module Overview

This module covers a variety of important aspects related to Food Technology and Safety. The first part of the module covers aspects related to Food Safety in particular in relation to chemically based toxic products present in some foods. The second part of the module is focussed on the processes used in food production and preservation (Food Technology), some of these processes are put in place to further preserve foods’ quality as well as having a lower impact on the environment. Students will also have a look into the packaging area thus exploring novel and more sustainable products. In particular, a variety of heat processes are covered in detail highlighting their role in the destruction of spoilage microorganisms. The final part of the module covers the role of refrigeration and freezing in food preservation as well as food packaging, including the safety considerations. This module builds on previous modules concerned with food science in terms of enhancing the understanding of potential toxic products present in foods and their risk assessment.

Furthermore, a greater emphasis is placed at this level (6) on understanding the principles and application of different food processes and their global application. Learning is embedded by the use of videos of food processing.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

GIACINTUCCI Veronica (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: D633

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 58

Lecture Hours: 18

Tutorial Hours: 3

Guided Learning: 30

Captured Content: 41

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:


Introduction and overview of the module

Food Preparation and Toxic Products

•            D-amino acids/lysinoalanine/toxic amino acids, lectins

•            Phytoestrogens, goitrogens and cyanogenic glycosides

•            Food additives - lipid oxidation and antioxidants

•            Contaminants - Pesticide residues

Principles of separation techniques for food production and preservation

•            Filtration, ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis

•            Centrifugation

Role of heat processing in food production and preservation. Classic and novel methods are explored. Sustainability and food safety components will be covered. Some of these processes (es. Extrusion) are used for the production of plant-based meat alternatives:

•            Introduction, heating methods, dielectric and microwave heating, principles of heat transfer – conduction, convection and radiation

•            Pasteurisation, sterilisation and canning

•            Novel methods, low cost and low energy: High pressure, pulsed electric field and their use in processing Psychrometry and dehydration

•            Spray drying and freeze-drying

•            Calculation tutorial

•            Evaporation

•            Food Extrusion

Role of refrigeration in food preservation

•            Freezing/frozen storage

•            Process of freezing/chilled storage/impact on microorganisms

Advances in food packaging with a particular attention to sustainability issues and novel packaging strategies:

•            Packaging materials, biodegradable and smart packaging Safety of food packaging materials

Risk assessment

Feedback and Feedforward:

•            Revision

•            Tutorials

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation PRESENTATION 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they can describe, explain and understand the type of food toxicants that can cause disease and the type of foods they can be found in. The assessment strategy is also designed to provide students with the opportunity to show that they understand the principles, roles and applications of different food processes used to produce safe and palatable food. Furthermore, calculation tutorials allows students to show that they have the skills to characterize the adequacy of a variety of processes (such as heat processes).

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

-Coursework 1 focusing on bioactive components or antinutrients (2000 words due around week 5-6).

This is a literature-research type-assignment and students will be able to choose between two main topics that have to do with effects of nutrients and antinutrients in foods and how processes can help detoxify foods.

This assignment will help students develop research skills as well as critical thinking. The students will have an appreciation of how to research and focus on specific aspects of a topic. Their ability to recap complex content and fully understand and recap data is assessed. The assignment is designed to give students the chance to develop the writing skills and analytical skills needed not only for their dissertation, but for any other type of research-type document they will need to produce in their professional career.

-Oral presentation based on a real-life scenario (around week 11)

This assessment is usually designed around a specific scenario. Students will need to apply their knowledge of food technology and safety to answer some of the scenario-based questions. This assignment is mostly designed to develop our students’ critical thinking. This type of assignment helps students apply their knowledge in order to understand the scenario. Students thus develop critical thinking and professional skills (including time management and communication skills) that will greatly help them not only in their professional life, but on many aspects of their life.

Formative assessment and feedback: Feedback will be given on the coursework essay and presentation through SurreyLearn. These are reserved for active student learning to enhance understanding. There are also a number of specific revision and feedback tutorials for formative assessment in form of in-class revision sessions or as drop-ins (online) that are organized by the Module Leader in consultation with the students.

There are not only occasions for students to get some feedback but also feedforward in preparation for their assessments.

Feedback is also provided via comments on their submitted text, in full writing and orally via drop-ins or during in-class tutorials/revisions.

More detailed and individualised feedback will be provided on each student’s coursework, if needed. Students, in fact, can also contact the module leader in order to gain further insight on their assignment.

Module aims

  • Provide a broad appreciation of the sources of potentially toxic substances in food and the relative risks associated with different classes
  • Develop an appreciation of the effects of food preparation/cooking on the formation of, or contamination with, potentially toxic products
  • Give an awareness of the major groups of endogenous toxicants in foods and their toxicity
  • Give an introduction to the food safety issues concerning additives, contaminants and the migration of chemicals from packaging materials into food
  • Provide an understanding of selected physical phenomena (e.g. heat transfer, fluid flow, psychometrics, freezing, etc.) and associated unit processes (canning, drying, freezing, concentration, extrusion, emulsification, etc) employed by the food industry
  • Provide an understanding of the factors that determine the safety and acceptability of the foods so processed
  • Provide the calculation skills required to characterise and/or estimate the adequacy of selected processes (e.g. canning, pasteurisation, drying, centrifugation, etc.)

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Have a good understanding of the relative risks from different classes of toxicants in food; critically appreciate reports and toxicological monographs published by e.g. the JECFA, JMPR, SCF relating to food additives, contaminants and pesticide residues in food KCP
002 Describe in general terms the operation of relevant pieces of equipment (es. microwave, refrigeration etc.) KP
003 Understand the principles and applications of filtration, reverse osmosis and centrifugation including the quotation of relevant formulae and equations and completion of associated calculations KP
004 Apply a basic understanding of heat transfer to frozen and below ambient storage and provide an appreciation of the variety of packaging materials available and to relate barrier properties to product requirements KCP
005 Apply a basic knowledge of heat transfer and psychrometry to pasteurisation, canning, dehydration, concentration and extrusion processes and complete appropriate calculations KCP
006 Use this knowledge to explain those factors that determine the microbiological safety of heat processes KCP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to

Students will begin to integrate what they have learnt in previous modules  (BMS1027, BMS1057, BMS2052, BMS3059) and will have the chance to develop their appreciation and thorough understanding of the fundamental food safety issues as well as the technologies that facilitate in the production of safe, palatable and nutritious foods. This aligns with the programme strategy to help students acquire knowledge and develop a thorough understanding of food processing in food safety and acceptability which will further help them develop the employability skills they will need as a basis for their future career as professionals.

The learning and teaching methods include:

•           Lectures, discussions (at least 2hrs per week)

There will be a blend of face-to-face lectures as well as recorded content. Alongside these, in-class discussions are encouraged. These activities are a very effective training for students working towards their CW1 (and CW2).

Students will discover the importance of processes in relationship to food safety considering both positive (es. Destruction of antinutrients, bioavailability) as well as negative sides (es. High costs of energy, contamination, cross-contamination, loss of nutrients, risk assessments).

•           Tutorials, calculation tutorials or discussions (online or face to face):

The discussion sessions are a perfect occasion to reflect on what is needed for their assessments thus building more confidence for the students.

Moreover, these activities are designed to boost the interaction of students with each other as well as with the teaching staff thus developing team work and, in some cases, leadership skills.

The students will be able to integrate the lecture content with independent reading (from the reading list) and learning.

The module leader usually sets up online drop-in sessions where students can participate asking questions and venting out doubts. This is a good occasion for students to get further feedforward.

•           SurreyLearn video clips used, when relevant, on some aspects of the module

The students are encouraged to engage with independent learning that will be facilitated via sharing relevant videos and useful reading that will give the students the chance to look into real-life application of the theory spoken in the class-room.

The topics will range from sustainable production of food products to the design of processes and strategies for future foods (es. Space food, Mars food, foods for extreme circumstances such as wars and catastrophic situations).

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS3070

Other information

Employability: This module will provide students with a theoretical and a working knowledge of the  main aspects related to food technology and safety. The fundamental topics range from toxins in foods and then follows with an appreciation of classic and novel processes. These are looked at from the point of view of food safety with a particular attention on the effect of processing on nutrients (and antinutrients). Risk assessment aspects are also covered. This module builds up on the content from BMS1027 in L4 and from BMS2042 in the first semester of L5.

Our students will develop their critical thinking and independent learning as well as a component of team working if in-class discussions can be considered as interactive work. Transferable skills that are developed thanks to this module are then: critical thinking, writing skills, ability to recap complex content into a brief document, analytical skills.

Digital capabilities: Students are encouraged to collaborate and interact with each other and the module leader via the use of platforms such as Teams or Zoom as these are digital tools that they will most likely keep using once their university journey is over and out in the job market. Students can interact with their peers or the module leader via sharing their screens and using the whiteboard (PollEverywhere) as well as engaging in  conversations during online tutorials/revisions or pre-submissions drop-ins organised by the module leader. As with all modules, students are expected to engage with online materials and resources via SurreyLearn.

While a selection of relevant literature (e.g. books, original research papers, systematic reviews and meta-analyses) will be provided, students are also encouraged to familiarise themselves with searching and retrieving peer-reviewed literature from online databases (e.g. PubMed, Scopus) and identifying good sources versus questionable ones.

Global and cultural capabilities: be aware of availability of different processes globally (es. US and Europe might use different processes to process a specific matrix).

Sustainability: students will be aware of the sustainability and environmental aspects of the processes overviewed that will affect their use, costs and perception from the consumer.  Aspects as novel technologies for global food security and environmental technologies (es. sustainable packaging) are some of those that the students will study and focus on in this module.

Resourcefulness and resilience: this module will require practical problem solving skills. This will enable our students to solve unseen problems or to be able in the future to actively respond to a specific problem-based task related to es. product processing, antinutrients presence, risk assessment. This module will enable students to further develop their critical thinking. By the end of the module, students will understand challenges, limitation and opportunities of food processes and food matrices. They will most likely be up to date with current trends in food technology and safety

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Food Science and Nutrition BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Nutrition and Dietetics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Nutrition BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.