Overall educational project objective

The aim of the course is to provide the participants with an in-depth understanding of the nature of EU-Microbiological Criteria; the scientific background, legislation, especially complicated issues e.g. shelf-life documentation, the international development, and the future perspective. The specifics of Food Safety Criteria and Process Hygiene Criteria, and their consequences in regard to action in cases of non-compliance will be discussed. Differences in perception and administration of the legislation between different MSs will be discussed in workshops and in plenary discussions, and the still insufficient harmonization due to these differences will be evident.

The principle that microbiological criteria should be used to verify the proper functioning of GHP and HACCP plans is described, and the problems of using microbiological criteria in end-product testing is underlined.Additionally, the complicated issues with regards to Listeria monocytogenes will be dealt with extensively, including the shelf-life documentation, which is required by the food business operators producing ready-to-eat foods, and where implementation is still lacking in many MSs. The controversial use of Salmonella as both a Food Safety Criterion in meat, and as a Process Hygiene Parameter in slaughter hygiene is also dealt with.Different real-life derived examples are used for group work in the workshops on Food Safety Criteria and Process Hygiene Criteria. The examples are selected to elucidate especially complicated of often over-looked problems and issues. The examples are also chosen to promote discussion of diverging practices between different MSs, leading to discussions on how to improve harmonization within the EU.The work currently being performed in Codex Alimentarius concerning the international development of microbiological criteria, in particular the strive towards the development of risk based approaches, is also dealt with during the course.

Training courses will consist of a mix of theoretical and practical trainings with emphasis on the practical exercises, using also case-studies from “real life” where appropriate. Discussion sessions shall be organised for exchange of views and feedback from participant, and shall facilitate formation of future networks.The time allocated to group work will be balanced with the theoretical lectures in order to provide participants with the opportunity to apply the knowledge acquired every day.Participants will be encouraged to effectively participate in discussion rounds, team work and exchanges of national best practices, so that they can benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience.For most of the topics, participants will train and implement the achieved knowledge in practical case studies. The topic will then be opened up to general discussion in which delegates will raise and discuss general issues, or specific problems of their own country. The tutors will facilitate these exchanges of experience.The case studies will be simplified in order to allow the participants to have time to apply all the taught methods within the timeframe of the course.


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