British Columbia Institute of

Important Notice: COVID-19 Institute response


FOOD 1021 - Introduction to Food Microbiology

Food Technology Part-time Studies Course

School of Health Sciences

BCIT is planning for a substantial return to on-campus activity for the fall 2021 term as informed by BC Public Health Officer guidelines. Refer to each course listing for details.

Course Details

Covers organisms that spoil our food, those we use to preserve and improve our food, and those associated with foods that can cause illness and disease. Discusses ways of preventing contamination and growth of microorganisms in our food. BCIT issues a statement of completion to those who achieve 70% pass grade.



This course was retired after the Spring/Summer 2016 term and is no longer offered through BCIT Part-time Studies.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, the student will be able to:

Module 1

The student should be able to:

  • Appreciate the ubiquitous nature of microorganisms.
  • List some useful benefits of microorganisms.
  • List how microorganisms can cause illness.
  • State why non-pathogenic microorganisms are undesirable in foods.

Module 2

The student should be able to:

  • Define metabolism, catabolism and anabolism.
  • Describe the three groups of macromolecules that are found in foods and therefore living cells.
  • Identify different structures of a bacterial cell and describe the function of each.
  • Define enzyme and state the purpose of an enzyme.

Module 3

The student should be able to:

  • Define the following bacterial types:
    • Lactic acid bacteria
    • Acetic acid bacteria
    • Butyric acid bacteria
    • Propionic acid bacteria
    • Proteolytic bacteria
    • Lipolytic bacteria
    • Saccharolytic bacteria
    • Pectinolytic bacteria
    • Thermophilic bacteria
    • Thermoduric bacteria
    • Psychrotrophic bacteria
  • List the three bacterial shapes.
  • Demonstrate the growth pattern of bacteria.
  • List the difference between bacteria, yeasts and molds and viruses.
  • List three foodborne viruses that can cause illness.
  • List five foods spoiled by yeasts and molds.
  • Define mycotoxins.
  • Name the scientific system for giving names to organisms.

Module 4

The student will be able to:

  • Define enzymes and state the general functions of enzymes.
  • List and discuss at least six factors that affect microbial growth.
  • Distinguish, (by definition), aerobic, anaerobic and facultative.
  • Discuss compounds that are inhibiting to microbial growth.
  • List three main contents of food that must be present for microbial growth.
  • Define all terms related to temperature and associated growth of microorganisms.
  • List the organisms targeted for heat distribution in milk, eggs and low acid canned foods.
  • Sketch, label and discuss the areas of a microbial growth curve.
  • Discuss water activity as it relates to control of microbial growth.

Module 5

The student should be able to:

  • Define the following terms:
    • Medium
    • Selective medium
    • Mixed culture
    • Single culture
    • Inoculum
    • Subculture
  • Give four possible reasons for the presence of high microbial counts in foods.
  • List three methods of enumerating microbes in food.
  • List four criteria of a valid food sample used for microbial analysis.

Module 6

The student should be able to:

  • List food preservation techniques for:
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Eggs
    • Dairy products
    • Meats.
  • Name the bacteria used to ferment dairy and meat products.
  • Explain how bacteria can preserve food.
  • List the two methods used in heat preservation of meats.
  • List the factors that determine heat treatments given canned meat products.
  • Explain the importance of relative humidity in meat storage.
  • Explain how meat is preserved via drying.
  • Explain how smoking affects meat.
  • Explain the reasoning behind multiple preservations being applied to the same meat product.
  • Distinguish the meanings of shelf-stable, semi-perishable and perishable.
  • List the factors affecting microbial growth in foods.
  • Discuss four types of meat spoilage due to molds.
  • Discuss types of aerobic and anaerobic meat spoilage.

Module 7

The student will be able to:

  • List the attributes of high quality meats.
  • Identify the two main concerns when microorganisms are associated with foods.
  • List the general sources of the microorganisms found in meats.
  • Discuss methods used to prevent contamination of the food from each source of microorganisms.
  • List the design criteria of food processing equipment as it relates to prevention of microbial contamination.

Module 8

The student should be able to:

  • Define foodborne disease.
  • Distinguish the difference between a food intoxication and a food infection.
  • List the organisms responsible for the three most common foodborne illnesses.
  • List the symptoms of the three most common foodborne illnesses.
  • List the foods with which Salmonella may be associated.
  • List conditions necessary for a Staphylococcus food poisoning.
  • List the foods associated with C. perfringens.
  • Describe conditions associated with botulism poisonings.
  • Discuss the control of foodborne illnesses.

Module 9

The student will be able to:

  • List the objectives of a plant cleaning program.
  • Define soil as it relates to the food processing industry and list the four major components of soil.
  • Identify the difference between soft and hard water and state which is preferable for cleaning.
  • Define the following terms:
    • Emulsification
    • Saponification
    • Rinsability
    • Wetting agents
    • Deflocculation
  • List requirements necessary for removal of each of the four basic soil types.
  • State the difference between sanitation and sterilization.
  • List the three methods of sanitizing food processing equipment and the parameters of each for successful sanitation.
  • List the four types of chemical sanitizers and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • List all factors that influence sanitizer activity.

Module 10

The student will be able to:

  • List the five areas that cooperate to maintain an in-plant microbial control program.
  • Define in-plant microbiological control.
  • List the role of management in an in-plant microbiological control program.
  • List the seven responsibilities of the laboratory in the microbial control program.
  • List the five areas of routine inspection as it relates to a microbial control program.
  • List the two techniques used to monitor equipment sanitation.
  • List the responsibilities of process control as it relates to cleanliness and sanitation.
  • List the results of a successful in-plant microbial control program.

Effective as of Fall 2003

Related Programs

FOOD 1021 is offered as a part of the following programs:

School of Business + Media

  1. Accounting
    Full-time/Part-time   Bachelor of Accounting

Programs and courses are subject to change without notice.

Find Courses

English Language Proficiency

BCIT's Part-time Studies English Language Proficiency Standard is English 12 (or equivalency). Students who do not meet this requirement should upgrade their English skills prior to any future registration.

Payment Changes At BCIT

We've changed the way we accept payments.

Find out more

Course Navigation, Related Links & Tools

Registration News

Registration is currently open for the Fall 2021 term.

The sneak preview for the Winter 2022 term starts Fri, Oct 22 at 8:30 am (PDT).

Students may register for Winter 2022 term courses online or by phone starting Wed, Oct 27 at 9:00 am (PDT).

Classroom Locations

Classroom locations are subject to last minute changes. Please check the Part-time Studies Classroom Locations listing at on the first day of any course you are registered for.

Part-time Studies Financial Aid

Will you be studying at BCIT part-time? Do you need assistance funding your studies? Find out if you qualify for Part-time Studies financial aid.