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Improving the Quality of Food From Farm

Code: 43032 ECTS Credits: 15
Degree Type Year Semester
4313796 Quality of Food of Animal Origin OB 0 1


Ahmed Salama Fadali

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
spanish (spa)


Ana Cristina Barroeta Lajusticia
Gerardo Caja López
Ramón Casals Costa
María José Milan Sendra
Maria Teresa Paramio Nieto
Jesús Piedrafita Arilla
Josepa Plaixats Boixadera
Roser Sala Pallarés
Francesc Xavier Such Martí
Dolors Izquierdo Tugas
Jordi Bartolomé Filella
Sergio Calsamiglia Blancafort
Susana María Martin Orue
David Sola Oriol
Lorena Castillejos Velázquez
Joaquín Casellas Vidal
Pol Llonch Obiols


Students should have basic knowledge about different livestock production systems and know basic vocabulary of the area. In case students had not previously studied related subjects, they will be provided with literature to enable autonomous learning.

 It is recommended that students have at least a B1 level (EUROPASS) or an equivalent level of English level in order to better use the materials and work in English.


Objectives and Contextualisation

This module aims to make students aware of the possible ways to improve the quality of animal products from farm. In particular, the module will examine the impact of factors such as nutrition, management, genetics and animal welfare on the nutritional, technological and organoleptic quality of different products.

Students will be also introduced to different strategies and production systems, aimed to obtain specific products to meet consumer demands, such as food with functional properties or food obtained by traditional production systems, ecological and/or respectful to animal welfare.

Finally, how to obtain safe products for the consumer will be another objective of the Master. Control of the raw materials used in animal feed, good hygiene practices at farm level, as well as different strategies that allow traceability from origin, will be considered.


  • Communicate and justify conclusions clearly and unambiguously to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Continue the learning process, to a large extent autonomously.
  • Define the main production systems that differentiate between animal products.
  • Design, organise and execute projects related to this field of study, working alone or in a unidisciplinary or multidisciplinary team, displaying a critical sense and creativity, and the ability to analyse, synthesise and interpret information.
  • Identify risks to food safety stemming from the feeding and handling of animals.
  • Identify the possible effects of animals' food, handling, welfare and genetics on the nutritional, organoleptic and technological characteristics of animal products.
  • Search for information using the appropriate channels and use this information to solve problems in the work context.
  • Solve problems in new or little-known situations within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to the field of study.
  • Use acquired knowledge as a basis for originality in the application of ideas, often in a research context.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Communicate and justify conclusions clearly and unambiguously to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  2. Continue the learning process, to a large extent autonomously.
  3. Design strategies to improve particular characteristics of quality in animal products and define their economic implications.
  4. Draft a written report on the work done.
  5. Identify regional, national and international regulations.
  6. Identify scientifically sound information sources.
  7. Identify the necessary requirements (laws, rules, handling instructions or others) for obtaining a differentiated animal product within a particular livestock farming project.
  8. Implement a programme of best practices for hygiene on a livestock farm.
  9. Make proposals for addressing specific practical problems.
  10. Present work done in seminars, leading the discussion of problem areas.
  11. Solve problems in new or little-known situations within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to the field of study.
  12. Use acquired knowledge as a basis for originality in the application of ideas, often in a research context.



Objectives, activities, calendar, evaluation.

UNIT I.  Improving the quality by improving farm management, animal genetic and nutrition.


1. INTRODUCTION to the  UNIT (1h)

From quantity to quality.


2.1. How milk is produced in the mammary gland (1h)

Internal structure of the udder. Hormonal control of lactation. Milk synthesis.

2.2. Physiological factors that affect the quantity and quality of milk (1h)

Lactation phase. Delivery number. Gestation and drying. Prolonged lactations.

2.3. Non-physiological factors that affect the quantity and quality of milk. (1h)

Milking routine and frequency. Environmental factors: photoperiod, impact of thermal stress (heat and cold).

2.4. Variation in milk quality (III): Nutrition. (2 h)

Forage : concentrated ratio. Effects of different foods on milk quality. Corrective actions 


3.1. Meat quality traits of interest in animal production. (1 h)

Meat pH and water-holding capacity of lean. Color. Chemical composition of lean. Intramuscular fat. Tenderness, juiciness and flavor.

3.2. Carcass and meat quality genomics. (1 h)

Genomics of the malignant hyperthermia syndrome in pigs. Genomics of the muscular hypertrophy and the calpain/calpastatin system inbeef cattle. The "callypige" gene in sheep.

3.3. Meat quality modification through animal nutrition. (2 h)

Fetal programming and skeletal muscle structure. Color. Palatability. Chemical composition. Fatty acid content.

3.4. Livestock handling and transport can affect carcasses and meat quality. (2 h) Handling in the farm. Handling during transport. Handling at slaughterhouse.


4.1. Update of egg quality concepts and consumer preferences. (1h)

Egg quality parameters. Guidelines for producers and grading stations. Trends and current European consumer preferences relative to egg and egg products.

 4.2. Egg quality through the formation process. (1h)

Key points of the egg formation process and the impact on egg quality aspects, in particular shell and internal egg defects.

4.3. Factors affecting egg quality. (2h)

Modification of external and internal shell-egg quality according to different factors: Genetics and selected strains. Housing system and management on the farm. Nutritional and feeding factors . Handling, transport and storage post-farm. Repercussion on egg products.


5.1. Implication of muscle growth and development on fish flesh quality. (1 h)

Structure and nutritional composition of fish muscle. Biological bases for fish growth and development.

5.2. Nutritional and feeding factors on flesh quality. (2 h)

Diet composition and feeding regime. Salmon pigmentation and fillet quality.

5.3. Effect of management and killing methods on fish flesh quality. (1 h)

Potential effect of pre-slaugther fasting, handling and transport. Slaughter methods. Ethical consideration.

Labs, Seminars, and visits

  •  Lab Sessions (2 h + 2 h).

Evaluation of different quality parameters of animal products obtainedfrom different breeding systems. Analysis of  the effects of management, nutrition or genetics.

  •  Case studies (8 h seminars).

The students will work on teams to solve practical cases on the analysis and design of breeding programs addressed to improve quality in a particular animal product.

  • Visits (3 h).

Visits to farms /boning hall/retail room/processing plant.

UNIT II. Animal products with defined quality properties



Commercialization of animal products. Different schemes for geographical indications (protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI)), different breeds or species, production system, feeding practices… Practical examples for a variety of PDO or PGI products (lamb meats, beef, birds, rabbits, milk, cheese, fish.. etc).


From traditional to intensive production and from intensive to organic production. Basic principles of organic production. Organic vs conventional production.

Organic livestock systems. Organic aquaculture. Current status of organic livestock and fish farming. Some examples.


Game species (wild boar, deer, roe deer, fallow deer, chamois, ibex, mouflon, etc..). Small game species (hare, rabbit, duck, quail, partridge, thrush, pheasant, etc..). Game production systems (private hunting, social preserves, wildlife refuges, game reserves, hunting grounds, etc..).


9.1. Concept of animal welfare (2h)

How consumers perceive it and how consumer perception relates to the scientific definition of animal welfare. 

9.2. Examples of animal welfare friendly products inpig and poultry production (2h)

From scientific assessment of welfare to market opportunities (2 h)


10.1. CLA-enriched milk. (1h)

How to get naturally enriched milk throughout feeding strategies.

10.2. Milk bioactive peptides. (1 h)

Occurrence and physiological effects of bioactive peptides in milk.

10.3. Feeding strategies to modify lipid composition of eggs and poultry. (2h) PUFA, w-3 and w-6 Enrichment . Antioxidant fortified eggs.

Seminars and Visits

  • Case studies (8h seminars).

The students will work on teams to solve practical cases on the definition of a new PDO, GPI products or alternatively applying the basic principles of organic production to a conventional farm. As well as the possible obtaining a functional animal food.

  • Visits (3 h).

Visit to an organic farm.

UNIT III. Consumer product safety



Cost and Benefit in Food Safety (1h)


12.1 Introduction (1h) GMOs in the EU and in the world (1h)

12.2 Residues in food and antimicrobial resistance (1h)

12.3 Biological risks associated tofeed: Mycotoxins. (1h)

12.4 Control plan for Salmonella in the EU. (1h)

12.5 The use of industrial by-products intended for animal feed. (1h)

12.6 GMOs in the EU and in the world (1h)


13.1. Production, self-control and traceability of forages and raw materials. (1h)

13.2. Basicsin any good hygiene practice in animal farm.(2h)

13.3. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) in the feed manufacturing industry. (2h)

13.4. HACCP programs in Food Industry (2h)


14.1. Animal identification. (1 h)

ICAR recommendations for animal identification. Traditional identification systems (natural and artificial markers, rattle them). Electronic identification (ISO standards, types of transponders).

14.2. Implementation of traceability. (1 h)

Elements of a traceability scheme. Analysis of critical and control points (HACCP). Costs of implementing an identification and traceability systems

14.3 Traceability of products of animal origin. (1 h)

Milk traceability and letter Q system. Traceability of honey, eggs, meat and fish.

Labs, Seminars, and visits

  • Practical’s (2 h).

In fieldapplication of different electronic identification systems of livestock.

  • Case studies (8 h seminars).

The students will work on teams to apply the different principles of quality control at different stages of the food chain (feed mills, dairy farms, slaughter house..etc)

  • Visits (3 h).

Visit to a Feed Mill.


The centre of the learning process is student’s work. Students learn by working, it’s the teacher’s mission to help them in this task. (1) Providing them with information or showing them sources where they can get it and (2) guiding them so that the learning process can be performed effectively. Following this ideas, and according to the objectives of this module, the development of this course is based on the next methodology and activities.

1. Working methods based on participative lectures.

The student acquires the expertise of the course by attending lectures and complementing it with self- study of the topics explained. The lectures are intended as an essentially one-way method of transmission of knowledge from teacher to student although student participation will be also encouraged during the lecturers.

2. Methods Oriented to Discussion and/ or to Team work.

It’s intended that through team or group work the student adopts an active role in the learning process. Cooperative learning increases student’s motivation, it strengthens attitudes of involvement and initiative, improves the level of understanding, the degree of dominance of concepts and procedures and makes a positive social relationship.

Different group work activities are included in this module.

2.1 Case studies.

2.2 Classroom practices.

2.3 Laboratory practices

2.4 Seminars

2.5 Lecture / oral presentation of work.

2.6 Participation in complementary activities (visits).

3. Autonomous work

Autonomous work is mainly a student-centred methodology, although teachers have also a significant role on this process. The aim is to help students develop skills to set learning objectives, choosebetween different ways of learning, set their own pace, plan and organize their work, discover and solve problems, make decisions and evaluate their own progress. Independent learning promotes various transversal competences and becomes an indispensable teaching method.

Within this course different autonomous work activities arise.

3.1 Writting reports.

3.2 Problem solving.

3.3 Self- study.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Complementary activities (esternal visits) 9 0.36 9, 11, 12
Lab Sessions 6 0.24 9, 11, 12
Participative Master Class 53 2.12 12
Seminars for Case Studies 24 0.96 9, 10, 11, 1
Type: Supervised      
Solving Case Studies 60 2.4 6, 3, 4, 9, 7, 5, 8, 11, 2
Solving exercises 24 0.96 6, 9, 7, 5, 11, 2
Tutorials 9 0.36 2
Type: Autonomous      
Personal Study 190 7.6 6, 3, 7, 5, 8, 11, 2, 12


In order to assess student’s progress, different activities and assessment methodologies are established:

Attendance and active participation in class (5%):

Active attendance in classes will be assessed by the teacher. Optionally teachers can provide some questionnaires in order to encourage participation.

Attendance at tutorials (5%):

During tutorials teachers will evaluate the abilities for independent work of each student.

Attendance at Complementary Activities (5 % each visit x 3 visits, 15 % total):

During the visits, they may raise small exercises or questionnaires that must be completed by students and, along with participation in the activity will be evaluated.

Accomplishment of practices (5 % each practice x 3 practices, 15 % total):

Some exercises that will also be evaluated may be established during practices.

Delivery reports and oral defence of Case Studies (20% each Teaching Units x 3 units, 60%):

Case studies are required to be solved in group and presented at seminars. They will tree diffente case studies for the different Units (I, II and III). The submitted report, presentation and public defence in seminars and teamwork facility, will be taken into account.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Attendance and active implication in classes. 5 0 0 9
Attendance to Lab Sessions 15 0 0 9, 11, 12
Attendance to complementary activities (external visits) 15 0 0 9, 11, 12
Tutorials 5 0 0 6, 2
Writting reports and public defence of Case Studies Unit I. 20 0 0 6, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 1, 12
Writting reports and public defence of Case Studies Unit II. 20 0 0 6, 4, 9, 7, 10, 11, 1, 12
Writting reports and public defence of Case Studies Unit III. 20 0 0 6, 4, 9, 5, 8, 10, 11, 1, 12


Electronics Books (CAB eBooks)

Accessible from the UAB using the following link:


Rabbit production. McNitt, J. I. Lukefahr, S. D. Cheeke, P. R. Patton, N. M. 2013 CABI (H ISBN 9781780640129)

Dairy herd health. Editor(s): Green, M. 2012 CABI (H ISBN 9781845939977)

 Veterinary treatment of sheep and goats. Editor(s): Duncanson, G. R. 2012 CABI (H ISBN 9781780640037)

 Alternative systems for poultry: health, welfare and productivity. Editor(s): Sandilands, V. Hocking, P. 2012 CABI (H ISBN 9781845938246)

 Goat meat production and quality. Editor(s): Mahgoub, O. Kadim, I. Webb, E. 2012 CABI (H ISBN 9781845938499)

 Nutrition and feeding of organic cattle. Editor(s): Blair, R. 2011 CABI (H ISBN 9781845937584)

 Enzymes in farm animal nutrition. Editor(s): Bedford, M. R. Partridge, G. G. 2010 CABI (H ISBN 9781845936747)

 Zoonotic pathogens in the food chain. Editor(s): Krause, D. O. Hendrick, S. 2011 CABI (H ISBN 9781845936815)

 Mastitis control in dairy herds. Editor(s): Blowey, R. Edmondson, P. 2010 CABI (H ISBN 9781845935504)

 Finfish aquaculture diversification. Editor(s): François, N. Le Jobling, M. Carter, C.Blier, P. 2010 CABI (H ISBN 9781845934941)

 Biology of breeding poultry. Editor(s): Hocking, P. 2009 CABI (H ISBN 9781845933753)

 The economics of animal health and production. Editor(s): Rushton, J. 2008 CABI (H ISBN 9781845931940) Nutrition and feeding of organic poultry. Editor(s): Blair, R. 2008 CABI (H ISBN 9781845934064)

Long distance transport and welfare of farm animals. Editor(s): Appleby, M. C. Cussen, V. Garcés, L. Lambert, L. A. Turner, J. 2008 CABI (H ISBN 9781845934033)

 Dietary supplements for the health and quality of cultured fish. Editor(s): Nakagawa, H. Sato, M. Gatlin, D. M., III. 2007 CABI (H ISBN 9781845931995)

 Nutrition and feedingof organic pigs. Editor(s): Blair, R. 2007 CABI (H ISBN 9781845931919)

 Integrated food safety and veterinary public health. Editor(s): Buncic, S. 2006 CABI (H ISBN 9780851999081)

 Muscle development of livestock animals: physiology, genetics and meat quality. Editor(s): Pas, M. F. W. te Everts, M. E. Haagsman, H. P. 2004 CABI (H ISBN 9780851998114)

 The encyclopedia of farm animal nutrition. Editor(s): Fuller, M. F. 2004 CABI (H ISBN 9780851993690)

 Animal health and welfare in organic agriculture. Editor(s): Vaarst, M. Roderick, S. Lund, V. Lockeretz, W. 2004 CABI (H ISBN 9780851996684)

 Growth of farm animals. Editor(s): Lawrence, T. L. J. Fowler, V. R. 2002 CABI (H ISBN 9780851994840) Salmonella in domestic animals. Editor(s): Wray, C. Wray, A. 2013 CABI (H ISBN 9781845939021)

Animal Feed Contamination: Effects on Livestock and Food Safety. Editor: Johanna Fink-Gremmels. 2012 Cambridge, UK Woodhead Publishing Limited.

Meat science: an introductory text. Author(s): Warriss, P. D. 1999 CABI (H ISBN 9780851994246) 

Other books

Animal welfare at slaughter. Editors: Velarde, A., Raj, M., & Grandin, T. (2016). 5m Books Ltd. (available in the library of the faculty).

Instituto Nacional de Denominaciones de origen. 1996. Denominaciones de origen y específicas de productos agroalimentarios. Tomo I: de origen animal. ISBN: 84-491-0257-X. (Disponible en la tienda virtual del Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio ambiente). http://www.magrama.gob.es/es/alimentacion/temas/calidad-agroalimentaria/calidad-diferenciada/dop/

O'Connor and Company. 2005. Geographical Indications and the challenges for ACPcountries. A discussion paper.Accessible en: http://www.google.es/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fag

Caballero, I., 2002. "Principios técnicos de la ganadería ecológica". En: Manual de agricultura y ganadería ecológica. Ediciones Mundi-Prensa y Eumedia, S.A.

Rebollo, X. y García R. 2004. La ganadería ecológica. Ed. Junta de Andalucía. http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/agriculturaypesca/portal/export/sites/default/comun/galerias/galeriaDescargas/ca

Miguel Arilla, Jordi Pont, Rafael Rocaspana, Ana Servent. 2011. Control y vigilancia del aprovechamiento de los recursos cinegéticos y piscícolas (MF0085_3). Ediciones GPS - Madrid

Smulders F J M and Algers B 2009 Welfare of production animals: assessment and management of risks. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers

Gregory N G 2004 Physiology and behaviour of animal suffering Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd

Coutts, A.J. and Wilson, G.C. 2007. Optimum Egg Quality. A Practical Approach. 5M Publishing. UK.

Improving the safety and quality of eggs and egg products: Egg chemistry, production and consumption (Volume 1). 2011. Eds: F Van Immerseel, Ghent University, Belgium, Y Nys, INRA, France and M Bain, University of Glasgow, UK. Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition No. 213.

Improving the safety and quality of eggs and egg products: Egg safety and nutritional quality. (Volume 2). 2011. Eds: F Van Immerseel, Ghent University, Belgium, Y Nys, INRA, France and M Bain, University of Glasgow, UK. Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition. No. 214

Nys, Y. 2010. Egg Quality. Ed.:INRA collection Productions Animales.

Wells, Belyavin. "Egg Quality-Current Problems and Recent Advances". 1987. Ed. Butterworths. Solomon, S.E. "Egg and Eggshell Quality". 1991. University of Glasgow. England.


Annual report on organic production in Spain: https://www.ecovalia.org/digicom/memoria/InformeAnual20_Ecovalia(def).pdf

Link for Dirección General de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural de la Comisión Europea.

Link for la Agencia Europea de Seguridad Alimentaria

Link for Area de Ganadería de la página del Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente.

FEDNA“Normas FEDNA para la Formulaciónde Piensos Compuestos”. 2003. Ed. FEDNA.

Asociacion española de ciencia avícola

Instituto del huevo

Web page for egg productos froml Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente


No specific softwares are used.