All course information is listed within this syllabus.

AGBIO/FDSC 521: Food Defense: Prevention Planning for Food Processors (3 credits). This course prepares current and aspiring professionals to learn, recognize, and apply measures to prevent intentional contamination of the food supply.

Instructor

Instructor for AGBIO/FDSC 521

Josephine Wee
Assistant Professor of Food Science

Department of Food Science
432 Rodney A. Erickson Food Science Building
University Park, PA 16802

E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox

Learn more about Dr. Josephine Wee at PSU's Department of Food Science.

Course Overview

The goal of this course is to provide food industry professionals with information to assist them in recognizing and applying measures to prevent intentional contamination of the food supply. This course focuses on hazards associated with the food supply; the differences between unintentional and intentional contamination of the food supply; methods for detecting hazards; risk analyses and/or assessment; prevention of intentional contamination; crisis management, including recalls; and development of a food defense plan. Students will garner basic information about food safety as it relates to food defense, the role of risk analyses and risk assessment in developing a food defense plan and apply this knowledge to real-world scenarios. Students also will undergo training in crisis management in order to prepare them for an intentional contamination incident. And finally, students will be required to develop and present a food defense plan.

Description of the Course

This course will not only provide participants with knowledge of the domestic and international food industry, but it also provides tools for food industry and homeland security professionals to develop food defense programs to protect the food supply from terroristic activities leading to intentional contamination.

The course will introduce and apply: examples where intentional contamination has been used in the food industry; biological, chemical and physical hazards of primary concern in the food industry; methods for detecting hazards in the food supply; systems employed to monitor foodborne illness in the general public; management practices employed in food production to deal with recalls and other crises; vulnerabilities and mitigation procedures unique to food production; as well as, agencies, resources, and tools needed to protect, prepare, and respond to intentional contamination incidents.

This course is a required course for the certificate program in Agricultural Biosecurity as well as the Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security - Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense Option. These principles also will be incorporated into a food defense plan, recall plan, and emergency preparedness plan for an assigned food establishment.

Course Objectives

  • Identify the issues and challenges of protecting the food supply from intentional contamination.
  • Identify and utilize knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to a food industry organization's effort in food defense.
  • Identify and utilize tools to assess, understand, and prepare appropriate responses and plans to mitigate and reduce the vulnerabilities and risks of an intentional contamination incident to a food processing establishment.
  • Explain the processes by which an organization can identify threats, implement recall strategies, and prepare for emergencies and/or crises.

Course Outline

Module 1: Characteristics of the U.S. Food Supply

Module 2: Hazards Associated With the Food Supply

Module 3: Epidemiological Investigations

Module 4: Risk Analysis

Module 5: Food Defense

Module 6: Food Defense Case Study 1

Module 7: Food Defense Case Study 2

Module 8: Crisis Management and Emergency Preparedness

Module 9: Development and Presentation of a Food Defense Plan

Module 10: Student Presentations and Critiques

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to the Course Summary on the Syllabus page in Canvas.

Grading Policy

Grading Criteria
Requirement Weight
Class Participation 20%
Quizzes 20%
Case Studies 20%
Plans and Presentation of Final Project 20%
Final Exam 20%
TOTAL: 100%
Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage
A 100% – 94%
A- < 94% – 90%
B+ < 90% – 87%
B < 87% – 84%
B- < 84% – 80%
C+ < 80% – 77%
C < 77% – 70%
D < 70% – 60%
F < 60%

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Graduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Resources.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on the World Campus' Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the Internet).
  • You must be able to conduct word processing tasks such as creating, editing, saving, and retrieving documents.
  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the Internet.
  • You must be able to use an e-mail program to send and receive messages and to attach and download documents/files.
  • You must be able to download and install programs or plug-ins from the Internet.

Accessibility Information

  • Accessibility statement for Canvas.

Netiquette

The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and discussion postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions, but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of messages. Please review Virginia Shea's "The Core Rules of Netiquette" for general guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Support Services

As a World Campus student, you have access to a variety of services and resources, including advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and more. Please visit the World Campus Student Services page for more information.

If you experience technology problems of any kind in Canvas, please select the Help icon and select "Report a Canvas Problem," "Chat with Support," or "Call Support." It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Vague descriptions of a problem only delay assistance. Try to include information such as: the specific course page, quiz question, etc. you were on; what you attempted to do when that failed; the exact language of any error message displayed on your screen; the date and time when your problem occurred; and any other pertinent information (does the problem happen consistently and always in the same way, etc.).

Writing Resources for AGBIO Option Students

Penn State Graduate Writing Center

The PSU writing center offers writing consulting to Penn State graduate students including online students through distance consulting.

Purdue OWL

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and they provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab.

This resource covers many topics related to writing including developing outlines, grammar, different types of writing, and proofreading.

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State World Campus students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. The library website has a lot to offer, but can be overwhelming. A guide has been created to serve as your introduction to important library resources, services, and important pages within the library. The Online Student Library Guide is updated regularly by the online librarian and is intended to provide a level of comfort through an introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Penn State Policies

Log-In Policy

Students are expected to log-in regularly to keep up-to-date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Course Availability

Your course will be available to you beginning the first day of class for each semester and will remain open for one year. After one year the course will close.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights, and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20, G-9 Procedures and the Code of Conduct).

Read the Academic Integrity Guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University's Academic Integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University's standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

Educational Equity Statement

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity at the Report Bias webpage.

Privacy Policies

For information about Penn State's privacy statement and what it encompasses, please read their web privacy statement. Visit Penn State's FERPA Guidelines for Faculty and Staff webpage for information regarding its rules on governing the privacy of student educational records.

Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor's express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University's Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional well-being. The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients' cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation.

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): 814-863-0395
  • Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
  • Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741
  • Mental Health Services

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources Web site.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus's disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.