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Food Process Engineering
FNH 300
Instructor: Dr. Erin Friesen
Office Hours:
Class Schedule:
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Course Description

The overall objectives of the Food Process Engineering course is to provide students with fundamental engineering concepts, principles, and skills necessary to understand the outcomes of commercial food processes as well as to design simple food process systems of their own. The course will provide breadth in that is will consider the heat, refrigeration, and rheology principles that apply to all food engineering. It will also provide greater depth in the application of heat processing to sterilize and pasteurize foods. Because of the practical need for quantitative prediction of process outcomes, topics are examined in mathematical as well as descriptive terms.

This course is intended to precede FNH 309 and will be offered in the Fall term (September to December).

The format of the course will be 3 one-hour lecture/discussion periods plus a one-hour tutorial period per week. The tutorial period will be used for group problem set sessions, group research projects and presentations.

Prerequisites: PHYS 101 or 121.


Required texts:

  • Course Manual and Selected Readings.

Optional Texts:

  • "Introduction to Food Engineering", Second Edition. 1994. Eds. R. Paul Singh and Dennis R. Heldman. Academic Press, NY. ISBN 0-12-646381-6.
  • "Thermobacteriology in Food Processing", Second Edition. C.R. Stumbo, 1973. Academic Press, NY. ISBN 0-12-675352-0.
  • "Elements of Food Engineering", Second Edition. 1988. Ernest L. Watson and John C. Harper. AVI, NY. ISBN 0-442-22677-2.

Specific Learning Objectives

Scientific Knowledge-based Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to describe and apply engineering and scientific principles to a range of food processes. Students will also be tested on their knowledge of risk factors of processed foods with respect to public health. These principles and risk factors include:

  1. Engineering system of nits of energy, mass, and dimension.
  2. Principles and applications of heat transfer including conduction, convection, radiation, and latent heat.
  3. Technology of thermal processing of foods.
  4. Thermobacteriology and principles of pasteurization and sterilization.
  5. Principles and technology of blanching.
  6. Low temperature preservation of food quality.
  7. Causes of food borne illness associated with food handling, processing, and storage.

Numerical Treatment of Process Problems

In addition to descriptive knowledge, students are expected to be able to use the fundamental equations of food engineering to make numerical predictions about food process outcomes. Examples include:

  1. Energy consumption of process operations.
  2. Measurement and prediction of heating and cooling rates of packaged and bulk foods.
  3. Evaluation of thermal properties of food and packaging materials.
  4. Calculation of sterilization and pasteurization processes for safe thermal processing of foods.

Problem Solving

Students will be introduced to the method by which mathematical models of food processes are derived and validated. By the end of the course, students should be able to choose, or develop and test, predictive equations which describe simple food processes. Examples include:

  1. Total lethality of multi-step heat processes on defined microbial hazards.
  2. Rate equations for loss of nutrient and sensory quality during processes.
  3. Cumulative impact of complex storage histories on shelf life.

Responsibilities of Process Specialists

An important outcome of the course is the recognition and acceptance by the students of the responsibility associated with food process design. Students are expected the be able to inventory and appraise the risks of food borne disease and intoxication associated with thermally processed or cold-stored food products. Upon completion of the course, students should recognize that as a professional food scientist, one must accept moral and sometimes legal responsibility for the processes they design, with respect to the wellbeing of consumers. Risk assessment will be discussed for:

  1. Low-acid, shelf stable foods.
  2. Acid foods.
  3. Refrigerated pasteurized foods.
  4. Frozen foods.


Activity Percent of Grade
Online Quizzes (Individual) 15%
Assignments (#1, Individual or Team; #2 to #5, Team) 15% (3% each x 5)
Midterm Exam (Individual and Team) 20%
Team Project (Team) 15%
Final Exam† (Individual and Team) 35%
TOTAL: 100%

Students must pass the final exam to pass the course!

Caution Concerning Plagiarism

FNH 300 has been offered for a number of years and therefore, copies of problem assignments completed by students in past years may turn up from time to time. Although assignment problems change somewhat from year to year, many of the practice problems have been re-used for several years. While I have no objection to students working together or making use of whatever materials they find helpful to understand their assignments, direct copying of another student's work, whether from the same year of from a previous year, constitutes plagiarism and will not be tolerated at UBC. I strongly recommend that you try your best to complete assignments independently before seeking the answer from other sources. Just knowing the answer to a sample problem will not be a great deal of help to you when faced with a different but related problem in an examination. If you feel compelled to compare our work to another student's, be certain that you are not simply copying.