Food Safety/Resources/Glossary

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  • Ambient temperature: Room temperature.
  • Bacteria: Bacteria are very small single celled organisms which are invisible to the naked eye, some forms of which can cause food poisoning if allowed to multiply and grow without control?
  • Binary fission: The process by which a bacterium multiplies by splitting in two.
  • Contamination: Is the presence of something in a product which should not be there.
  • Date coding: A date on food packaging that indicates the period when food is safe and in the best condition to eat.
    • Use by date: is displayed on highly perishable food.
    • Best before date:indicates a food item with a longer shelf life. Foods with a shelf life exceeding 3 months.
  • Enzymes: Are substances which cause or accelerate chemical changes without themselves being used up or permanently altered in the process.There are countless numbers of enzymes, each of which is responsible for its own reactions or group of reactions.They control and initiate most of the chemical reactions making up the life processes.
    • Enzymes are destroyed between 65° - 88°C
  • Food: Anything that people normally eats or drinks, including water.
  • Food borne-disease: An illness caused by micro-organisms carried by food or water.
  • Food poisoning An illness caused by eating food contaminated by harmful substances or by harmful micro-organisms living on the food.
  • Food safety: The safe guarding or protection of food from anything that could harm consumers’ health.
  • Micro-organisms: Very small (micro) life form (organism), including bacteria, viruses, moulds, yeasts, fungi and microscopic parasites.
  • Moulds: These are simple plants that appear like whiskers on foods, particularly sweet foods, meat and cheese.
    • Moulds can usually be seen or smelt and therefore not usually a cause of food-borne illness. They do cause food spoilage and waste in the food industry.
    • They are multi-cellular plants which reproduce by the formation of spores.Moulds are many and varied and grow in cool temperatures, even in the refrigerator.
  • Pathogen: An organism that causes disease. Pathogen bacteria cause illnesses such as food poisoning.
  • Protozoa: are single celled animal like micro-organisms much larger than bacteria.Most of them are free living organism found in the soil and water.
  • Spores: are a resistant form of bacteria, which can survive many years.They cannot be destroyed through normal cooking.Cooking at 121°C for at least 20 minutes will destroy them.
  • Toxins: Poison produced by some bacteria and moulds.Destroyed by cooking foods at 100°C for 30 minutes.
  • Viruses: are the smallest of all micro-organisms; they can only be seen under an electro microscope. Viruses are inactive unless they penetrate living cells.They do not grow in food; however they can be carried by food so food acts as a means of transportation.
  • Yeasts: are single celled plants which reproduce by budding.They are found in soil and water and on the skin of many fruits and vegetables.
    • Colonies of yeast are readily visible.
    • Food spoilage occurs with yeasts; fermentation, mould, CO2 gases, slime, sours, giving food an effervescent quality.