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  • Queen's University Belfast

Introduction to Food Science

Discover the fascinating world of food science and feel empowered to make safe, healthy, and sustainable food choices.

14,443 enrolled on this course

A scientist looking at different vegetables

Introduction to Food Science

14,443 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Accreditation available

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Discover topics like food sustainability, integrity, ethics, and constituents

Please note this course runs without facilitation

Food and health information is often oversimplified by the media, and recommendations can be inaccurately reported and contradictory to current recommendations.

By understanding and learning more about what’s in our food, we can make smarter, more sustainable, and healthier food choices.

On this course, you’ll access trustworthy information on the food system from food industry experts.

You’ll cover topics like food contaminants, food safety, ethical issues, and food sustainability considerations so that you can become a responsible partner in the food system.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds The integrity of food is of increasing concern, due to a number of highly-publicised food authenticity and contamination scares. In addition, there’s currently 3.5 billion people suffering from malnutrition, whilst the worldwide numbers of overweight and obese people is growing. There is an increasing need for consumers to make smart, sustainable, and healthy food choices. But we can be exposed to oversimplified, contradictory, and inaccurately-reported information published across a range of media sources, making it difficult to make informed food choices.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds EIT Food, in partnership with Queens University Belfast, Aarhus University, University of Turin, University of Madrid, and the Spanish National Research Council have designed a free online course and introduction to food science, which will provide reliable and trustworthy information from academia and experts working in the food sector. Through videos, activities, and quizzes, the course will create an awareness and understanding of the food system and empower citizens to make safe, healthy, and sustainable food choices. The course will cover topics including food contaminants, control of food safety, ethical issues and sustainability considerations, and consumer information and responsibilities.

Skip to 1 minute and 34 seconds As a result, learners can become responsible partners in the food system, overcome their concerns and create trust in food production, and spark a new generation of informed consumers. The course is for all consumers and citizens who are interested in food and for the curious minds who are looking for reliable information on diet and health, food quality, safety, and authenticity, and ethical and sustainability considerations. In particular, the course will provide a fantastic source of revision material for 16 to 18-year-old students undertaking a subject related to food. Enrol now for free on FutureLearn.


  • Week 1

    Diet and Health

    • Welcome to the course

      Find out about what you will be learning, who will be guiding you and how the course is taught.

    • Food Constituents

      Food is vital for optimal health and wellbeing. In this section we will explore both macronutrients and micronutrients and their role in the diet.

    • Diet and Health

      Diet has a profound impact on human health. In the past decades, the global shift of dietary habits towards the so-called Western diet has been linked to a high prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases.

    • Functional Foods

      Functional foods are foods that provides beneficial effects to human health beyond the normal nutritional effects.

    • Summary

      To end the first week we have a quiz for you to complete and some final reflections on diet and health.

  • Week 2

    Ethical and Sustainability Considerations

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Hello and welcome to week 2 of the course. This week we will explore ethical and sustainability issues related to the food system.

    • Food Production

      Food systems depend on natural resources like water, soil, land, minerals and fossil fuels. It is important to ensure food is produced sustainability without jepordaising the environment for future generations.

    • Food Security

      Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.

    • Food and Critical Consumption

      Eating is an activity in which we engage in every day. Making food choices puts consumers in an active role when it comes to consumption and ethical considerations.

    • Review and Reflect

      This week we have explored the issues related to ethical and sustainable food production.

  • Week 3

    Food Integrity

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Hello and welcome to week 3. This week we will explore the quality, safety and authenticiy of food. We hope you enjoy!

    • Food Safety

      Food safety is a scientific discipline describing the handling, preparation and storage of food in ways that prevent food borne illness. A food safety hazard is any biological, chemical or physical agent that could cause illness.

    • Food Quality

      The term food quality represents the sum of all properties and attributes of a food item that are acceptable to the customer.

    • Food Authenticity

      The food sector plays a significant direct role in human well-being through the provision of authentic food fit for human consumption. We will take a closer look at food fraud is defined as an intentional act for economic gain.

    • Review and Reflect

      This week we have explored the issues related to food quality, safety and authenticity. It is now time to reflect on what you have learnt.

  • Week 4

    The role of the consumer

    • Welcome to Week 4

      Welcome to week 4. This week we will explore the role of the consumer in making safe, sustainable and healthy food choices.

    • Responsible Food Choices

      The food that we eat and the way we produce it will determine the healthy of the people and the planet. It is possible to feed a growing population but only if we transform our dietary patterns and food choices by 2050.

    • Barriers to responsible food choices

      A drastic reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions is possible with a simple change in everyone’s eating habits. Here we explore the barriers to making responsible and sustainable decisions during buying and consuming food.

    • Ultra Processed Foods and Consumer Perceptions

      The group, “ultra-processed foods” is defined as formulations of ingredients, mostly of exclusively industrial use, typically created by series of industrial techniques and processes. We explore consumers perceptions of them.

    • Review and Reflect

      Congratualtions you have reached the end of the course. This week you have looked at the role of the consumer in making safe, healthy and sustainable food choices. It is now time to reflect on what you have learnt.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the term food integrity
  • Explore ethical and sustainability issues surrounding food production
  • Assess how the consumer is protected by legislation
  • Explain how food can become contaminated by biological, chemical or physical hazards
  • Identify the role of the consumer in ensuring food safety and becoming change agents in the transition towards a smart, inclusive and trusted food system
  • Reflect on the work organisations are doing in relation to food safety e.g. EFSA

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in food and looking for reliable information on how to make safer, healthier and more sustainable food choices.

It will be particularly useful for final year schools students undertaking a food-related subject or interested in food science as a potential career pathway.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge on this topic, you might also find of interest the following EIT Food courses on sustainable food systems and health:

Who will you learn with?

Michaela is a Lecturer in Education working on the development of EITFOOD education programmes. Her background is in food science and research at the Institute for Global Food Security.

Teresa is the EIT Food Education Programs Manager at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
She did a PhD in Agrochemistry and is now working at the Institute of Food Science Research (CIAL, UAM-CSIC).

Researcher at the Institute of Food Science Research (CIAL, CSIC). Interested on biological activity of foods in different physiological and pathological conditions, and on gut microbiota.

I have a background in food processing and structure and work currently as Assistant Professor at University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Carolina Simó, Ph.D., is
a researcher at the Institute of
Food Science Research (CIAL-CSIC).
She is specialized Omics
Technologies in Food Science (ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7140-0795).

Who developed the course?

EIT Food

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

Queen's University Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast is a member of the Russell Group of 24 leading UK research-intensive universities.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 19 Aug 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

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  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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