ACBS creates Food Safety Certificate program

Nov. 27, 2023

Undergraduate certificate program will address growing need for food safety professionals

Margie Sanchez-Vega stands next to ACBS student Jessica Torres, who holds up a certificate

ACBS student Jessica Torres (right) earned her professional Basic Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Certificate in fall 2023. Margie Sánchez-Vega (left) teaches courses like the HACCP as part of the undergraduate Food Safety Certificate program.

Margarethe Cooper

University of Arizona students have the opportunity to earn valuable credentials and help prevent foodborne illness with the new undergraduate Food Safety Certificate program from the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences.

The program was developed to meet the educational needs of students and to address a critical need in the food industry. 

"We need professionals on every level of the farm to fork continuum to ensure a safe food supply," explained Margarethe Cooper, Victor P. Smith Endowed Chair in Food Safety Education. "To best protect our food supply, we need food safety experts wherever our food is grown, processed, stored, or sold."

The 13-unit, fully online certificate program began enrolling in Fall 2023 for students at UArizona's main and Yuma campuses and will be available through Arizona Online beginning Fall 2024.

"We wanted to make the certificate as flexible as possible so it can serve as a complement to students' primary areas of study," Cooper said.

After completing required coursework in microbiology and food safety laws, students may take more specialized courses in topics ranging from various kinds of food processing, to food toxicology, to risk assessment and management. The certificate also includes a practicum element to give students hands-on training. Additional professional certification in different food safety areas of interest are available through the program as well.

Students interested in enrolling in the undergraduate Food Safety Certificate should contact food safety advisor Dari Salvo (

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