Training objectives

The training of MSc in Food Safety and Food Risk Management is aimed at providing the students, at the end of the degree course, to acquire knowledge, understanding and interpretation skills of the data, with reference to:

- characteristics and properties (and relative traceability) of foods and their components, chemical and microbiological modifications of foods induced by the production processes and study of the factors that regulate the chemical and hygienic safety of raw materials and end products;

- safety and quality related to biological, chemical and physical food contaminants; toxicological levels, acceptable daily doses,  assessment of the risk in the intake of substances conveyed by the diet;

- food legislation and policies for safety and public health;

- principles of statistics, biometrics, epidemiology, experimental design and use of mathematical models for risk prediction;

- principles of communication methodologies and emergency management in the field of food safety.

These skills will enable the graduates to:

1) perform food risk analysis, prevention and management activities;

2) apply risk assessment and risk reduction strategies to reduce consumer exposure to known risks and possible emerging risks;

3) apply management and control systems aimed at guaranteeing the safety of food products, also in the context of production, distribution and catering systems for individual and community food;

4) be able to evaluate risk management and communication policies;

5) use the scientific method of investigation and apply knowledge and skills in solving problems in multiple areas of food safety.

For achieving the above targets, the MSC in Food Safety and Food Risk Management course includes:

- the acquisition of in-depth knowledge on specific techno-scientific and legislative aspects of the food sector and related sectors, both general and specialized, in relation to food safety;

- activities and practical exercises dedicated to the knowledge of experimental control methods and data processing;

- activities aimed at deepening knowledge on innovative technologies and methodologies for food safety;

- external activities, such as internships in companies, public administration structures and laboratories, as well as study periods at other Italian and European universities, also in the framework of international agreements.

The structure of the study path is articulated in a common first year and in the subsequent differentiation into three curricula (specialisations) aimed at providing more in-depth knowledge in the areas of risk mitigation / reduction, agro-food safety in primary production and risk management in production and processing companies.

The formation of the first common year is aimed at providing students with the skills necessary for an adequate assessment and management of risk in the food field. First of all, adequate knowledge of food technologies and food microbiology will be provided, with an emphasis on their connection to potential risks. Students will then be trained in the principles of food toxicology and risk assessment. These subjects will be linked to a robust knowledge of statistics applied to biological systems, which will constitute part of the teachings of the first year. An equally robust competence on dangerous substances and dangerous organisms present in food is also considered indispensable for as a common knowledge, thus lectures will also be provided on xenobiotic substances and biological hazards in food. First year course units will be completed by an indispensable training on international legislation in the field of food safety.

As part of the "Further training activities", consistently with the educational objectives of the programme of study, it was deemed appropriate to envisage an activity aimed at acquiring the ability to communicate and make judgments at the ethical level. In this activity, transversal and general contents will be developed on the issues of Bioethics, considered fundamental for the training of young scientists in an international perspective, coherently with the Bioethics courses present in many scientific degree courses activated in the European context.

With this common background, students will then be able to specialize their formation in the aforementioned curricula (specialization) in the second year.

The curriculum dedicated to risk mitigation / reduction aspects will focus on providing specific skills on risk reduction methods related to food production, with insights on risk mitigation during production in the food industry, on the mitigation of toxic substances, on management of the allergen risk and finally on the methods of prevention of new emerging risks.

The curriculum dedicated to the safety of primary production will place the emphasis on risk assessment and management in primary production, with insights on biological hazards in general, on field and post-harvest infections, on pests and fungal contamination, as well as on the modalities management of these sources of risk.

Finally, the curriculum dedicated to risk management in production and transformation companies will provide the skills for effective risk management in the food sector, with specific insights into the management of process technologies, the prediction of microbiological risk, the management of zoonoses, and finally on the methods for performing a correct risk assessment on end food products.

The course will end with a training period at universities, companies and control bodies and / or institutions and the preparation of a final paper (thesis) to be discussed in front of the Graduation Commission.