The Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health provides teaching in five subjects: food hygiene, environmental hygiene, meat inspection and slaughterhouse hygiene, toxicology, and environmental health and food safety control. In addition, teaching in environmental hygiene entails studies in food and environmental virology.

The aim of the studies is to provide future veterinarians with the prerequisites to work as heads of municipal environmental health care as well as in management and expert duties in the various fields of environmental health care and the environmental industry.

Participation in courses offered by the Department requires, almost without exception, prior studies in veterinary medicine.

In addition to studies required for the Licentiate of Veterinary Medicine degree, the Department arranges optional courses annually. Optional courses can also be completed as continuing education for veterinarians. Continuing education courses are announced in Fennovet’s education calendar.

Information on all courses offered by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine can be found on the course search site. You can browse the information without logging in. Students can access their course pages through the My Studies site.

The aim of environmental health care is to ensure a healthy living environment for people. Environmental health and food safety control entails monitoring by official municipal veterinarians. This includes duties related to food and domestic water monitoring, swimming water, housing health and product safety monitoring, monitoring of legislation on chemicals and tobacco, as well as veterinary health care.

The focus of studies is on the official role of veterinarians and their supervisory duties within the municipal organisation. Studies are closely intertwined with studies in both food hygiene and environmental hygiene.

The studies acquaint the students with the complex legislation regulating the work of official municipal veterinarians, both in lecture format and through practice-oriented exercises. Group work serves to familiarise the students with the operating environment of official municipal veterinarians, in other words the environmental health care organisation, as well as develops communications skills important to official municipal veterinarians.

Seminar work focuses on the practice of administrative coercive measures. Students will become well-versed in the principles of good governance. Moreover, the aim of studies in environmental health and food safety control is to influence the development of leadership and provide students with the necessary skills to work as supervisors.

Environmental Health course discusses key environmental issues that have a direct impact on human health. Topics include: waterborne disease epidemiology; treatment and quality of drinking and bathing water; environmental impact of solid waste and waste water; indoor and outdoor air quality and their effect on human health; health impact of soil pollution; the scientific basis for policy decisions; and emerging global environmental health problems.

Teaching in food and environmental virology, given primarily under the subject of environmental health, examines the role of viruses in health hazards caused by food and the environment, as well as problem prevention. The most important enteric viruses, such as noro, hepatitis A and rotaviruses, and particularly their molecular genetic diagnostic methods, are described. Familiarising students in the circulation of these viruses and their tolerance of environmental factors is a central objective. Understanding these matters helps in preventing epidemics and controlling the spread of viruses by supporting, for example, municipal authorities in their decision-making. Hygienisation methods for domestic water and sewage, as well as processes in food production from the perspective of virus elimination are also examined.


Nowadays, in addition to microbial risks, veterinarians responsible for environmental health care and food control in municipalities have to increasingly comment on chemical risk factors pertaining to the soil, air, water and food. In order for these decisions to be based on reason and scientific knowledge, it is necessary that veterinarians are versed in the basics of toxicology.

The toxicology studies go through the various stages of toxicological risk analysis and examine the general and specific responses of tissues and cells when exposed to chemicals. The teaching also presents the adverse health effects caused by the most significant chemical components and certain physical phenomena (e.g., electromagnetic fields, fine particles, UV radiation) present in the Finnish living environment, nutrition and domestic water and their biological impact mechanisms.

Studies in food hygiene deal with health hazards caused by food, factors deteriorating the quality of food and their prevention.

Research and studies in the subject are based on strong competence in traditional microbiology, which is supplemented by competence in molecular biological technologies utilised in microbiology.

In cooperation with research institutes and the food industry, our research aims to ensure the production of safe food in internationalised Finland.

The basic training provides veterinary medicine students with the theoretical qualifications required for working as inspection veterinarians after graduation. The basic education consists of one course in meat inspection and another in slaughterhouse hygiene, as well as a training period in a slaughterhouse. The meat inspection course gives students a comprehensive understanding of how high-quality meat is produced safely from primary production to the cutting floor. The course in slaughterhouse hygiene focuses on the approval of meat processing facilities, the implementation of in-house control, and control based on risks. Research related to the meat production chain is actively utilised in the teaching.