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Glossary

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Term
Definition
Allergen

An allergen is a substance that is present in some food and which can cause illness, or in serious cases even death, when it is in contact with the skin or when it is eaten by people who are allergic to that substance.

Airlocks

Airlocks are ventilated hallways or corridors separating toilets or laundries from food preparation areas. Usually fitted with self-closing doors, they are intended to physically separate these areas to prevent accidental contamination of food.

Bacteria

Bacteria are a type of microorganism that can be found in soil, on animals, on people and on the things people touch and use. If food becomes contaminated by bacteria it can cause food poisoning if eaten. Consumption of food contaminated by bacteria is the most common cause of food poisoning.

Blue band-aid

A blue band-aid should be used on cuts and wounds that are on a part of the body that could come into contact with food or food preparation surfaces or equipment. This will ensure that the cut or wound is covered and that, if the band-aid accidently becomes loose and falls into food, it will be much easier to see than a skin-coloured or transparent band-aid.

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Calibrate

The process you undertake to make sure your thermometer is reading correctly is known as calibration. To calibrate a thermometer only takes a few minutes and is essential for good business practices. It is important that the thermometer be calibrated because if it is off by even a degree or two, it could affect the safety of food. Make sure you know how to calibrate your thermometer.

Chemical hazard

A chemical hazard in food is when the food has been contaminated by chemicals that are not safe to consume, such as cleaning chemicals, or by naturally occurring toxins, for example the chemical that causes potatoes to go green.

Cleaning

Cleaning involves removing grease, food, dust, stains, smells and taste from food preparation surfaces and equipment.

Cold storage

Cold storage must keep all food stored inside below 5ºC. While not being transported, prepared, cooked or served, all high-risk foods must be kept in cold storage.

Detergent

Detergent is similar to soap and is used for washing food preparation surfaces and equipment to remove grease, dirt and grime from surfaces. It only removes some surface bacteria and does not kill bacteria.

Disinfectant

A disinfectant is a chemical used to kill microorganisms on surfaces such as toilets and bathroom floors. They are not food-safe chemicals and should not be used in place of sanitisers.

Dry storage

Dry storage is for low risk foods that do not require to be kept below 5ºC to keep them safe or fresh. This is foods such as flour, cereals, canned foods and sugar. Although dry storage is for low risk foods, these foods must still be appropriately sealed and labelled.

Food contamination

Food contamination occurs when something is found in food that shouldn’t be there. It can be harmful.

Food handler

A food handler is anyone who is involved in any activity that involves food.

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First in - first out

Good stock rotation is essential in a food business. Products that have been in storage longer will have the shortest shelf life and should be used before newer products. For example, milk with a use-by date of 14/11 should be used before milk with a use-by date of 20/11.

Food intolerance

Food intolerance is a reaction that some people have after eating or drinking some foods.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating contaminated food. The most common cause of food poisoning is from eating food contaminated by harmful bacteria. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever. Food poisoning can be very serious and can even cause death.

Food safety

Food safety is ensuring that food is safe to eat.

Food spoilage

Food spoilage is when food goes ‘off’ (for example, sour milk or mouldy bread).The smell, taste and look of the food makes it unfit to eat and it should be thrown in the bin.

Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis is an inflammation or infection of the stomach and intestines generally caused by consumption of harmful microorganisms. It is often referred to as a tummy bug.

Gluten

Gluten is a protein that is found in certain types of grains, such as wheat, barley, oats and rye. It is therefore also found in food products that are made with these products, such as pasta or bread made using wheat flour. People that suffer from coeliac disease can have an adverse reaction if they eat food containing gluten.

Microorganism

A microorganism is a very small living organism that can only be seen under a microscope and includes bacteria, viruses and some fungi.

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Personal hygiene

Good personal hygiene means making sure that you, your clothing and accessories are clean. Personal hygiene is very important as it helps to prevent food contamination from hands, clothes, jewellery, nails and other personal items. Washing hands regularly and thoroughly is a vital element of personal hygiene. Good personal hygiene also means not working around food when you are sick.

Pests

Pests are unwanted creatures in food premises. Pests must be kept out of food preparation areas as they can spread germs and damage stored food and equipment. Common pests in food preparation areas include mice, flies, ants and cockroaches. Keeping food preparation areas clean helps to prevent pests.

Physical hazard

A physical hazard is an inedible object found in food that shouldn’t be there and that could cause physical harm if the food is eaten. Examples of physical hazards include plastic, glass and band-aids.

Prepared food

Prepared food is food that has had some preparation, such as chopping, mixing or cooking, in order to use it at a later time. For example, chopped vegetables that are stored for later use in a soup are prepared food.

Raw food

Raw food is food that has not been cooked. Often raw food refers to food that is unsafe to be served raw and that can only be eaten once it has been cooked, such as raw meat and chicken. In this case, raw food should not be handled in a way that will cause the contamination of cooked and ready-to-eat food.

Ready-to-eat foods

Ready-to-eat foods’ are foods that are eaten in the same state that they are sold; that is, without further food preparation, such as the heating that is needed to kill bacteria.

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Recall

A food recall is where an authority, such as the Department of Health, decides that food is unsafe for sale and that it needs to be recalled from throughout the food supply chain. If the food business you work for is ever involved in a food recall it is important that the instructions for the removal of food from sale be followed carefully.

Sanitise

Sanitising is an important step in the cleaning process. Sanitising is done after washing and involves the destruction of disease-causing microorganisms or reducing their numbers to a safe level.

Sanitiser

A sanitiser is a cleaning chemical that is used to kill bacteria on food preparation surfaces and equipment, or reduce them to a safe level. Sanitisers used for food preparation surfaces and equipment must be food safe.

Self service

Self service refers to situations when customers serve their own food from a central area, such as a buffet-style arrangement.

Thermometer

A thermometer is an instrument used to measure the temperature of something, that is how hot or cold it is. When measuring the temperature of food a probe thermometer, calibrated to 1ºC, should be used to ensure measurements are accurate.

Toxin

A toxin is a poisonous substance produced by living organisms, for example toxins can be produced by the metabolic activities of some bacteria. If bacteria present in food release toxins, the food can become unsafe to eat.

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Unsafe

Food is said to be unsafe when it causes harm after consumption.