Food Quality and Sensory Science

University of Reading

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Food Quality and Sensory Science

  • Host University

    University of Reading

  • Location

    Reading, England

  • Area of Study

    Nutrition and Food Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
    Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
    Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
    Non-modular pre-requisites: Not open to 2nd Year Nutrition and Food Science or Nutrition with Food Consumer Sciences students as an option as they take this as a compulsory module in their final year.
    Modules excluded:
    Module version for: 2016/7

    Summary module description:
    This module provides an introduction to important elements of food quality including its assessment and control. In particular it will discuss (a) the concept of quality and its components with a particular focus on the sensory science elements, and (b) the legislative and business requirements for food quality management. The sensory science component gives an overview of objective (analytical) sensory testing and concentrates on developing practical skills within analytical sensory testing. The food quality management component will include an introduction to national and international quality management standards and systems (including an introduction to HACCP) and the role of legislation in providing consumer protection.

    ? To develop students awareness of the role of food quality attributes and their control.
    ? To provide an understanding of the application of sensory science to the assessment of eating quality in foods.
    ? To enable students to organise and run sensory evaluation trials.
    ? To provide an understanding of the control systems adopted by food businesses and by national and international food control organisation to maintain quality and protect consumers.
    Assessable learning outcomes:
    On completion of the module, students should be able to:
    ? Explain the main attributes that determine food quality
    ? Critically evaluate a wide range of sensory methods and decide which techniques to use to answer a range of food quality, product development and cost release questions
    ? Design and conduct a range of sensory analysis procedures
    ? Statistically analyse data from a range of sensory methods
    ? Explain the main management systems used by food manufacturers to maintain food quality
    ? Explain the key elements of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) system in food safety control.
    ? Describe the major elements of legislation and standards relevant to national and international food control
    ? Outline the main national and international food control organisations involved in providing consumer protection
    Additional outcomes:
    Students will have the opportunity to take the IFST (Institute of Food Science and Technology) Certificate for Sensory Training at foundation level. They will have enhanced skills in the application of statistical methods to the analysis of complex data sets. They will enhance their ability to identify and access relevant documents linked to food quality standards and legislation.

    Outline content:
    Topics covered include:
    ? What is ?food quality?: An initial overview will be provided indicating how quality is perceived by consumers, industry and authorities.
    ? In Sensory Science: Analytical sensory methodologies, types of sensory panel, assessor screening, training and monitoring; analysis of sensory data. The practical aspect of the course covers sensory discrimination testing.
    ? In Food Quality Management: National food control systems focussing on both the UK/EU and other international components such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Food businesses quality management systems with an introduction to quality control, quality assurance, quality management standards (e.g. the BRC Global Standard for Food) and HACCP.
    Global context:
    Food is now a major element in global trade. Internationally, food quality has a major role in food safety, food choice and the commercial success of manufactured food products. The knowledge and skills gained in this module have global application and equip students with a sound bases for future roles linked to food quality anywhere in the world.

    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, practical classes and data seminars. Within lectures students have the opportunity to consolidate their knowledge through data interpretation exercises, and discussion of appropriate testing procedures and case studies. The sensory lectures closely integrate with practical classes where the application of sensory methods to the evaluation of food products is undertaken. Data seminars are used to evaluate and interpret the results from the practical classes.

    Contact hours:
    Lectures 24
    Seminars 4
    Practicals classes and workshops 4
    Guided independent study 68
    Total hours by term 100.00

    Summative Assessment Methods:
    Written exam 40
    Written assignment including essay 25
    Set exercise 10
    Class test administered by School 25

    Other information on summative assessment:
    Following the sensory practical classes students complete an assignment to both concisely report their methods and discuss results from their sensory discrimination test of two food products.

    There is a 1 hour test at end of term that also enables student to gain IFST foundation certificate in sensory science (the class test administered by school).

    Length of examination:
    60 minute examination

    Requirements for a pass:
    overall mark of 40%

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Written examination during the University examination resit period in August.
    The reassessment examination is 120 minutes rather than 60 minutes as it covers both Food Quality and Sensory Science. The standard examination is 60 minutes because it only covers Food Quality; Sensory Science is assessed through the coursework outlined above except where reassessment is required.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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