A new microbiology course for the food industry has just been started at Lincoln University.
From 16-18 June, delegates were welcomed to the University’s fully-equipped Centre for Food Research and Innovation (CRFI) for the three-day Practical Food Microbiology course aimed at teaching the basics of practical microbiology for ensuring food safety.
CRFI associate director, and associate professor in food microbiology, Dr Malik Hussain, says ongoing professional development in the food safety sector is “critical.”
He says that food production and processing is a key sector for New Zealand economic growth.
“Over the last ten years, New Zealand’s food exports have increased, with the government strongly focused on boosting this sector further. This means we need more trained people to assist the food industry in the assurance of food safety – the key element in everything from domestic food business to international trade.”
The course covered types and diversity of micro-organisms and key factors for their control. It also included isolation and enumeration of micro-organisms from food, inhibition and destruction of micro-organisms, food poisoning, food spoilage, growth media and the maintenance and correct use of equipment in the laboratory.
Dr Hussain says that the training is designed in a way to develop a particular set of skills that are needed to test food or water samples for total microbial load or presence of most common pathogens, such as total microbial count, E.coli, Coliforms, S. aureus and listeria. The course is also a great opportunity for industry personnel to gain hands-on experience within Lincoln’s state-of-the-art research laboratories.
Course attendees included food processing managers and technicians, foodservice professionals with technical backgrounds and practising microbiologists.
Dr Hussain will develop and run a series of intermediate and advanced level food microbiological courses in the coming months.