Basic Microbiology for the Food Industry

Under European Food Safety Regulation 178/2002, Article 14 “Food shall not be placed on the market if it is unsafe or unfit for human consumption.”  As bacteria are the major cause of food being unsafe, it is essential that those persons responsible for producing safe food have some knowledge of bacteria.  Historically the majority of personnel who held these responsibilities studied a Food Science or Microbiology related discipline in a third level College or University.  This however is no longer the case as many graduates with engineering, supply chain and financial backgrounds or non-graduates who have progressed to managerial positions are now in charge of food manufacturing processes and factories where the biggest threat to the business or the consumer is E. coli, Salmonella, Clostridia just to name a few. If one is in charge of producing food that is governed by law where microbiological criteria are specified it is vital to know ones legal obligations.  This course will give delegates an understanding of how bacteria grow, unique characteristics of some bacteria and most importantly how they can be controlled.  A simple method of microbiological risk assessment will be explained so that risk based decisions can be made which will be in the interest of the business and consumer alike. Case study exercises will be undertaken with particular focus on the WPC 80 Fonterra incident. This incident resulted from the lack of understanding of bacteria by production and technical staff alike and is one of the most significant food safety incidents and product recalls in recent years.

Delivery Mode

  • Customised

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What's covered?

  • Delegate/Tutor Introduction
  • Course Introduction
  • History of Microbiology
  • Bacteria Classification / Shapes
  • Bacteria Cell Structure
  • Bacteria Spore Formation
  • Bacteria Growth Requirements
  • Disease Causing Bacteria:
    • Food Poisoning Causes
    • Food Hygiene
    • Major Pathogens
    • Food Spoilage Bacteria
  • Microbiological Risk Assessment Methodology
  • Microbiological Criteria of Foodstuffs (2073/2005) – Chapter 1 & 2
  • FSAI Guidance Note 3 – Guidelines for the Interpretation of Micro Test results
  • WPC 80 – Case Study Review
  • Course Review / Evaluation

Who should participate?

  • General management who need a basic knowledge of bacteria
  • HACCP / Food Safety team member who may not have a Food Science background
  • Maintenance / Engineering personnel who manage process intervention in a high risk environment
  • Food manufacturing supervisory personnel who make decisions relating to food safety
  • Technical personnel who need to know the Microbiological Criteria of Foodstuffs (2073/2005)
  • Product recall personnel who need to understand the significance of microbiological contamination

What will I learn?

Participants achieve the following learning outcomes from the programme;

  • Be familiar with basic bacteria classification and structure
  • Understand spore formation and the difficulties it poses for the food sector
  • Understand the requirements for bacteria growth and survival
  • Understand the major disease causing bacteria (Pathogens) and how they can be controlled
  • Understand food spoilage bacteria and the importance of milk hygiene
  • Understand how to carry out a microbiological risk assessment
  • Be familiar with EU regulation on the microbiological criteria of foodstuffs (2073/2005)
  • Be able to use FSAI Guidance Note 3 to interpret microbiology test result

Who are the tutors?

Denis Kiely

Denis has 25 years of experience working in various sectors of the Food Industry specialising in Food Safety / HACCP, Process Control, Legal Compliance and Auditing.  His main skill is removing the jargon and mystique attached to what is now considered the most important element of business continuity in the food industry, food safety.  Denis has worked with competent authorities both Irish and European, multinational food and beverage manufacturers plus Irish SME food business’.  He also has extensive experience working with Irish, UK and European retailers.

The manufacturer and retail of safe food requires investment in the three Ps; Premises, Plant & People.  The last of these – People – arguably the most important but perhaps least reliable if not trained well.  This is the key message that Denis focuses on in all training programmes he delivers regardless of the audience.  Food Safety must be taken out of the laboratory or technical department and brought down to factory floor level.  This can only be done with strong leadership and excellent communication skills where the concept of team and collective responsibility is fostered and rewarded.

Denis has a BSc Food Science & Technology, is a Registered Food Safety Auditor with IRCA (International Register of Certificated Auditors), an elected Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, an Associate Member of Chartered Quality Assurance and holds an NUI Certificate in Training & Continuing Education. Denis has worked at management level in a number of food industries and is one of Ireland’s leading experts on Food Safety and is constantly in demand by major food manufacturers and food retailers for his expertise in this area. He is a gifted trainer, expert at delivering complex information in plain English in language that is clearly understood, ensuring delegates leave his training programmes empowered with new knowledge and confident to implement.

Denis is a Licensed trainer with CIEH (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health UK).  Denis Kiely is a Qualified PCQI and a Qualified Lead Instructor in Preventive Controls for Human Food.

How do we train and support you?

In-House Courses
For In-House courses, the tutor will contact you in advance to discuss the course programme in more detail in order to tailor it specifically for your organisation.


Course Manual
Delegates will receive a very comprehensive course manual.

Denis Kiely


Denis Kiely


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