Skip main navigation

Welcome to the course, presentation of teachers, experts and avatars

Presentation of teachers, experts and avatars
Hi and welcome to this course on : Consumers and Environmental Safety: Food Packaging and Kitchenware This course has been created by The Department of Life Science and Department of Biotechnology at the University of Torino, in Torino Italy Dr. Giorgio Merlo, Dr. Claudio Medana, Dr. Patrizia Bovolin and by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Madrid SPAIN Dr. Amparo Lopez-Rubio, Dr. Antonio Martinez-Abad and Dr Maria Jose Fabra and by The Institute of Food Research and Animal Reproduction at the Polish Academy of Sciences, in Olsztyn Poland Dr. Natalia Drabinska and by the Tellspec LTD in UK Dr. Isabelle
Hoffmann Together we specialize in different fields: Chemistry Biology Material Science Veterinarian Science Epidemiology Ecology Information Technologies and together we’ll walk you through the relationship between the how we pack and consume food/drinks, sustainability, our health and the protection of the environment. In week 1 you will learn about the packaging, the materials, the chemicals and the migration In week 2 you will see epidemiology at work and you will learn about our delicate endocrine system In week 3 you will learn about the tests In week 4 you will learn about research on new materials the role of legislators and control agencies
relevance Finally you will discuss the role of INFORMATION We also have six avatar-assistants, that will help in the activities. Our Avatars will run the interviews and help to clarify some of the controversies We have Chemi-Joe that works in an analytical chemistry laboratory. We have Research-Ann that works in a biology laboratory and we have Industry-Alex that is chief executive in a food company Then we have Shopper-Vicky, who is a consumer that pays attention to food facts, we have Opinio-Neil that discusses opinions on TV, radio and blogs,and finally we have Regula-Mary who holds a position at the EU commission for health See you there, folks! Enjoy the course and please don’t miss any step as they are all connected

Hi and welcome to this course. Surely you know much about how food is produced, stored and sold. And you are expert in nutritional facts. But, if you try to look in a different direction, you will see for instance all those packaging that surrounds us, and all that comes in contact with foods and drinks. Are they necessary? Is this healthy for us? Is this a real progress? And so…we though to prepare this course. The opinions are quite different, and we will try to represent all of them, from the minimizers to the maximizers. While you are going to see all points of view, you’ll have time to make up your own. Enjoy a journey that you probably have never done. Stay with us and you are guaranteed to learn a lot.

We will answer these questions: a. What are the risks for global health and for the environment derived from packaging? b. Which professional figures are involved in creating, testing and using packages and how are these connected ? c. Is research in chemistry, biology and material science contributing towards safer food? d. What is the role of consumers and how can they make informed choices? What measures do the industry, governments and the EU put in place to ensure safe packaging ? e. How can information and comunication technologies reach the general public and help in daily choices ?

At the end of this course you should be able to

  • Reflect on the importance of safe food packaging and kitchenware in your daily life and choices
  • Evaluate how chemicals can migrate from packaging and slowly affect our endocrine health
  • Assess how chemical and biological tests are done and evaluate their importance for safety
  • Describe the professional roles of all stakeholders in the business of food safety in general
  • Discuss the topics of the course with increased knowledge and contribute to global awareness
  • Interpret information and news with increased critical sense, especially when dealing with consumers’ health and protection

Few lines on the main educators

Claudio Medana is full professor of Analytical Chemistry at the Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, University of Torino. He is in charge of the Unit of Mass Spectrometry of the department and his recent research activity is focused on the development of analytical mass spectrometry methods for the identification and determination of bioactive molecules (metabolites, drugs, toxics).

Giorgio Merlo is associate professor of Developmental Biology and Genetics, at the Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, University of Torino. He runs research programs in development of the brain and of the endocrine system, with a specific interest in gonadotropic hormones. Recently his activity focuses also on some genetic determinants of intellectual disability.

Patrizia Bovolin is associate professor of Comparative Anatomy and Neurobiology at the Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, University of Torino. Her research focuses on the impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals (i.e., some plasticizers used in food-contact materials) on adipocytes and neural cells. Recently she has also been studying the role of the endocannabinoid system in neuronal development, focusing on the neurons controlling food intake and reproduction.

Natalia Drabinska is a scientist at the Department of Chemistry and Biodynamics of Food of the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of Polish Academy of Sciences. She graduated her PhD in human nutrition, and her research concentrated on supplementation of a gluten-free diet with prebiotics in children with celiac disease. Recently her activity focuses on the effects of diets on the human body, metabolomics as well as analysis of volatile organic compounds for diagnostic purposes

Amparo Lopez-Rubio is a permanent scientist at the Packaging Group from the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC) in Valencia, Spain. She has broad experience in the development and characterization of materials for food applications and some of her research activities deal with the study of new biopolymer sources which can be used to develop bio-based and biodegradable packaging structures for food packaging applications.

Antonio Martínez-Abad is a postdoctoral researcher from the Packaging Group from the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC) in Valencia, Spain. He has a broad expertise in several fields, including the development of novel biodegradable food packaging materials from renewable resources, having a unique knowledge on glycomic sequencing of carbohydrate fractions, of special interest in this type of applications.

Maria José Fabra is a postdoctoral researcher also from the Packaging Group from the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC) in Valencia, Spain. She has extensively work with biopolymers for food applications, specifically for use as coating materials for increasing postharvest quality of fresh produce. She also works on developing active food packaging structures through different strategies.

Marta Martínez-Sanz is a postdoctoral researcher from the Packaging Group from the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC) in Valencia, Spain. Her expertise is focused on bio-based materials obtained from plant-derived resources, especially cellulose-based materials and she has unique knowledge on advanced characterization tools applied to food related materials.

Isabel Hoffmann Hoffmann is the CEO of Tellspec, a disruptive company that offers rapid nondestructive sensors for food quality and safety. She has presented at conferences around the world and her awards in technology and entrepreneurship include the 2018 EIT Women in Innovation award presented by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.

This article is from the free online

Consumer and Environmental Safety: Food Packaging and Kitchenware

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education