Food Control CertHE

Study level: Undergraduate
HNC/HND courses
Arms and hands washing a vegetable in a sink with the tap running and other vegetables in the side

The Food Control CertHE course is designed to meet statutory requirements for food inspectors.

Year of entry

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Part-time

Duration

1 year full-time
2 years part-time

Course code

HLSH023

Start date

September 2023
January 2024


Course overview

Designed for those who wish to become Food Safety Inspectors or Auditors by covering the requirements of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health’s (CIEH) Higher Certificate in Food Control (HCFC)

  • You will have the opportunity to study food regulation and law, food microbiology, food standards and food inspection, hygiene management systems and current issues affecting the food chain
  • Study in the state-of-the-art Alison Gingell Building which features a suite of analytical and biological laboratories where you can gain hands-on experience
  • Develop transferable skills in accessing, evaluating and reporting scientific information, decision-making, teamwork, entrepreneurship and communication 
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Global Ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Employability

Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Why you should study this course

This course has been developed in response to the growing demand for food safety inspection and audit specialists. Applications are encouraged from those with food industry experience looking for a career change or to enhance their current food safety knowledge in the roles they currently occupy, or people with an interest in developing their career in this area. 

The safety and authenticity of the food we eat and the hygiene of food premises that prepare and serve food are of paramount importance. This is reflected in the work of the government agencies, regulatory bodies and local councils that have responsibility for monitoring and enforcing food safety standards.

Individual food producers, suppliers and catering outlets also require appropriate knowledge and understanding of the legal requirements and their responsibilities to the communities they serve. 

Alongside the academic content relating to the Higher Certificate in Food Control (HCFC), the course also aims to develop students’ transferable skills in accessing, evaluating and reporting scientific information, decision-making, teamwork, entrepreneurship and in communicating in diverse situations, thus preparing students for their future careers.

The course team currently includes practitioners in food and food premises inspection who bring their knowledge and professional experience to the classroom. Thus, the course aims to produce competent people who are ready to further their careers within the food industry, especially with regulatory bodies as food safety inspectors. The course also offers the opportunity for practical industry visits and fieldtrips such as visits to food manufacturers2.

Seminars by our practitioner staff and visiting lecturers (subject to availability) will bring you the latest on a wide range of food safety-based research topics, which have previously included a food safety packaging seminar from food manufacturers and Local Authority inspectors. 

Our Alison Gingell Building features a suite of analytical and biological laboratories where you will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in cutting-edge food safety, inspection and analytical techniques.

Entry on to the course is available for those who have experience of working in the food industry or have sponsorship or employment within a Local Government Environmental Health Department. The academic content of the HCFC must be supplemented with a Competency Development Portfolio prepared during a minimum of 6 months practical training, plus a professional discussion for competency with the CIEH. Although the university does not provide the placement position for the experiential logbook requirement, the university's Talent Team will assist where possible, in supporting students in contacting local authorities and in applications for placements2

7th

for Food Science

The Complete University Guide 2023

Accreditation and Professional Recognition

This course is accredited1 and recognised by the following bodies:

Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) logo

Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH)

This course is accredited for the 23/24 intake by the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health (CIEH) to deliver the academic content of the CIEH Higher Certificate in Food Control, the baseline qualification for food hygiene and standards, official controls and the inspection of food premises within the UK. Eligibility for membership of the CIEH is gained upon successful completion of the Higher Certificate in Food Control academic content, Competency Development Portfolio and professional discussion. Students are entitled to affiliate membership as part of the course through Flying Start, and receive this on the full-time course or in the second year of the part-time course. After leaving university, students can choose to keep up membership or not. Please visit the CIEH website for more information.


Memberships

Chartered Institute for Environmental Health

Eligibility for membership of the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health upon successful completion of the Higher Certificate in Food Control academic content, Competency Development Portfolio and professional discussion. Additional costs may apply. Please check with the membership body (CIEH) for details. 

Affiliate membership of the CIEH is available for students during their study. Additional costs may apply. Please check with the membership body (CIEH) for details.


What you'll study

The CertHE in Food Control is available over 1 year full-time (3 semesters) or 2 years part-time (5 semesters). 

Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Please contact admissions for more information about studying this course part-time. 

Modules

  • This module aims to assist CertHE students to develop key skills that are essential for the successful study of level 5 and level 6 modules and are of value for future employment. You will be introduced to, and practice, effective literature searching and retrieval, the expectations for scientific writing at university level, numerical and problem-solving skills, oral presentation and effective team working. The ability to work safely in both the laboratory and the academic kitchen, to design experiments and to analyse and present experimental data will be covered. An introduction to key principles necessary for the comprehension of other module topics will be facilitated by online workbooks. This will ensure that, regardless of entry route, you have the fundamental principles and terminology in these areas. You will also be encouraged to reflect on your learning and develop effective study strategies in order to improve performance. You will also reflect on employability skills and career options. 

    Compulsory

  • Microorganisms play beneficial roles in food production and digestion, but also result in health and economic concerns through food spoilage and food borne infection. This module considers the role of a variety of microbes in food fermentation and in food contamination, leading to spoilage or food poisoning. The gut microbiome and human health, plus host defences to microorganisms are considered. Natural antimicrobials derived from plants and other microorganisms and microbial aspects of food preservation are discussed. This module also aims to develop skills and competencies that are essential for modern food microbiological analysis.

    Compulsory

  • This module will extend some topics to discuss the principles of food production and preservation for reasons of food safety, along with the application of different packaging technologies to extend shelf life. You will learn about common key food production methods and how these are assessed to ensure the safe production of foods. You will learn how processes are designed to control hazards and what can happen when these processes go wrong. The food manufacturing environment can also introduce food safety hazards such as foreign bodies. You will have the opportunity to learn about the different foreign body detection methods and further laboratory analysis techniques that assist in identifying them. 

    Compulsory

  • This module assesses the competence to inspect food for safety and apply common food standards legislation at the point of retail sale. It introduces you to a comprehensive range of foods which might be encountered by a Food Inspector or by food industry personnel. It develops the theory and practice behind assessing food safety, food composition and food authenticity. You will gain experience in inspection techniques and the communication skills needed to inspect food competently for safety and standards, as well as the ability to decide upon the most appropriate intervention when issues arise. 

    Compulsory

  • The module aim is for you to understand the main framework of UK and European food safety hygiene legislation, UK enforcing regulations and relevant standards and guidance. You will also learn to apply appropriate risk-based judgement to the determination of offences and the application of appropriate enforcement tools. You will therefore be able to interpret legislation and determine the most appropriate course of action and intervention in relation to a variety of food-based scenarios. You will also have the opportunity to become familiar with techniques for food premises inspection and auditing, through classroom workshop learning, mock inspection and participation in an interactive online food safety inspection. 

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to integrate knowledge and skills from previous modules by applying this knowledge and understanding into different food safety management systems such as HACCP, ISO quality systems and allergen management. You will have the opportunity to learn the legally defined steps within the HACCP risk assessment process and be able to develop HACCP plans and critically evaluate them for food safety and legal compliance. You will also see how such systems can be applied to specific hazards such as allergens. The operation of quality systems will also be evaluated to demonstrate how they complement food safety systems. You will also explore how HACCP is applied internationally and how it links with UK national policies on the reduction of foodborne disease. HACCP itself is built upon the foundation of pre-requisite underpinning systems such as cleaning management and pest control management. The principles and appropriate application of such systems are taught for how they exist in isolation and also their application into broader food safety management systems. 

    Compulsory

  • The application of the law will be developed further in this module with applying the rules of evidence gathering under the law. Interviewing and evidence gathering under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and associated codes of practice will be explored. You will be expected to carry out an inspection or audit of a catering or a manufacturing premises and then apply knowledge and principles gained in the previous modules to assess health risks and then apply appropriate legal controls abiding by legal rules of evidence. The inspection or audit process will therefore require the application of activities such as sampling, photographing, interviewing, evidence gathering and critical evaluation of food safety management systems along with the preparation of legal correspondence and notices. You will furthermore be prepared to write up a prosecution file and present this work during a mock trial role play exercise. This will involve you both planning and presenting your evidence in both the correct legal file format and furthermore presenting the evidence during examination and cross-examination of evidence, as you would in a magistrates’ court of law hearing. 

    Compulsory

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

The members of staff that teach across the course have a wide range of research, food industry and local authority backgrounds alongside their teaching experience and excel at sharing their knowledge and professional experiences. This brings a vibrancy to the teaching sessions that you find in the food safety field.  

Mary-Jane Hawkes, Course Director, quoted in 2022 
Alison Gingell building with purple flowers on the ground in front of it

How you'll learn

The course is taught by a mixture of lectures, laboratories, kitchen-based sessions and interactive workshops and discussion groups. Real life scenarios and current and recent case studies involving food quality and safety issues are used extensively.

The course is taught as blended learning, with campus and online live classes.

As part of the assessments within the course, students will have opportunities to undertake practical inspections of food and food premises and to prepare and present a mock court prosecution case along with other real-life application of key skills and knowledge such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, assessing microbiological food sampling results and applying current food safety legislation. These applied assessments are also supported by traditional written assignments and examinations. Outside of the classroom, you will be further supported by online course materials which you are expected to complete in their own time.  

The university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via emerging online technologies and methods across all courses. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2023/2024 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety. 

Assessment

Assessments must pass with 40% or greater unless they are a core competency which are set in line with our accrediting body professional standards. In order for you to show your potential you will be assessed in a variety of formats, including traditional timed assessments, scientific report writing, verbal and written presentations, and participation in group activities.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.  

The members of staff that teach across the course have a wide range of research, food industry and local authority backgrounds alongside their teaching experience and excel at sharing their knowledge and professional experiences. This brings a vibrancy to the teaching sessions that you find in the food safety field. 

Mary-Jane Hawkes, Course Director, quoted in 2022 
Alison Gingell building with some purple flowers

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2023/24 entry.

Five GCSEs graded 9-4 / A*- C including Mathematics, English Language and Science, or specified equivalents, and:

  • Suitable experience and background from working within the food industry and/or employment and sponsorship from a local authority.
  • CIEH Intermediate Certificate in Food Safety or any of their other previous Level 3 qualifications such as the Level 3 Award in Supervising Food Safety in Catering, Food Safety Supervision for Manufacturing, HACCP in Catering, HACCP for Food Manufacturing, Food Safety Manufacturing or equivalents from the RSPH or similar.
  • Applicants will be interviewed by course staff members to assess their experience and suitability to study the qualification

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Are you eligible for the Fair Access Scheme?

We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background. Find out more about our Fair Access Scheme.

Five GCSEs graded 9-4 / A*- C including Mathematics, English Language and Science, or specified equivalents, and:

  • Suitable experience and background from working within the food industry and/or employment and sponsorship from a local authority.
  • CIEH Intermediate Certificate in Food Safety or any of their other previous Level 3 qualifications such as the Level 3 Award in Supervising Food Safety in Catering, Food Safety Supervision for Manufacturing, HACCP in Catering, HACCP for Food Manufacturing, Food Safety Manufacturing or equivalents from the RSPH or similar.
  • Applicants will be interviewed by course staff members to assess their experience and suitability to study the qualification

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:


You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall, with no component lower than 5.5.

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

Student Full-time Part-time
UK £5,460 per year Request fee information
International £7,500 per year Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see The University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions. 

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them. Find out what's included in your tuition costs

  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.


Facilities

This course is taught at the Coventry University campus, with labs undertaken primarily in the Alison Gingell building.  Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities4.

SuperLab   
Our state-of-the-art SuperLab can hold up to 250 students at one time and has facilities for cell and microbial culture and equipment for microscopy, DNA, RNA and protein extraction and analysis.  

Analytical Chemistry Suite   
The Analytical Chemistry Suite is a dedicated space for chemistry-based teaching. Students can complete ‘wet’ chemistry and preparatory work, complemented by a comprehensive suite of analytical equipment which includes ICP-OES, uHPLC, HPLC, Fluorescence Spectrometers, UV Spectrometers, GC, and GC-MS.  

Kitchen Facilities   
You will use the kitchens for a variety of tasks where you develop understanding of food processing relevant to industry and Local Authority food inspection, including how risks are controlled, such as sous vide, investigating gas analysis of modified atmosphere packed products, and conducting a mock kitchen inspection.  

Court Room   
You may have the opportunity to take part in a mock court room trial in the moot court which helps you to get a realistic experience of being cross examined on your prosecution file.   


Careers and opportunities

The course aims to produce graduates who are ready to start careers within the food industry, auditing, with regulatory bodies and who are ready to move onto completing the competency development portfolio and professional discussion with the CIEH to become a Registered Food Inspector.

There is a big emphasis on practice during this course and you will be taught by an experienced teaching team who impart their own research and professional expertise into their teaching. This is supplemented by practitioners and professionals from industry and various regulatory authorities (please note that staff may be subject to change).

You will have opportunities within the course to undertake practical inspections of food and food premises and to prepare and present a mock court prosecution case, together with many more practical teaching sessions. The course aims to produce graduates who are ready for careers within the food industry, with regulatory bodies and as food inspectors. 

The course has been designed for those who wish to become Food Safety Inspectors or Auditors by covering the requirements of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health’s (CIEH) Higher Certificate in Food Control (HCFC) qualification (see Accreditation and Recognition section). Graduates of this course have the opportunity to work in a range of environments related to food control, either in ensuring safety standards or enforcement. 

Where our graduates work

Previous graduates of the course have gone on to work for private auditing companies, port health authorities, local authorities and manufacturing companies.


How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 

    1Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For Home Students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.

    4Facilities

    Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. The 2023/24 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.