Glossary of Terms
Bacteria — living single-cell organisms. Bacteria can be carried by water, wind, insects, plants, animals and people and survive well on skin, clothes and human hair. They also thrive in scabs, scars, the mouth, nose, throat, intestine and room temperature foods.
Contamination — the unintended presence in food of potentially harmful substances, including microorganisms, chemicals and physical objects.
Cross Contamination — the transfer of harmful substances or disease-causing microorganisms to food by hands, food-contact surfaces, sponges, cloth towels and utensils that touch raw food that are not cleaned, and then touch ready-to-eat foods. Cross contamination can also occur when raw food touches or drips onto cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
Foodborne illness/disease — sickness resulting from acquiring a disease that is carried or transmitted to humans by food containing harmful substances.
Food contact surface — Any equipment or utensil which normally comes in contact with food or which may drain, drip or splash on food or on surfaces normally in contact with food. Examples: cutting boards, knives, sponges, countertops and colanders.
Guillian-Barré Syndrome — An illness where the immune system attacks the nervous system. It usually starts as tingling and weakness in the legs, and may ascend to affect use of muscles in the arms and even muscles used for breathing. The cause is not known.
Internal temperature — the temperature of the internal portion of food product.
Pathogen — a microorganism (bacteria, parasites, viruses or fungi) that is infectious and causes diseases.
Ready-to-eat food — a food that is in a form that is edible without washing, cooking or additional preparation by the food establishment or consumer and that is reasonably expected to be consumed in that form. Ready-to-eat food includes potentially hazardous food that has been cooked; raw, washed, cut fruits and vegetables; whole, raw, fruits and vegetables that are presented for consumption without the need for further washing, such as at a buffet; and other food presented for consumption for which further washing or cooking is not required and from which rinds, peels, husks or shells have been removed.
Virus — A protein-wrapped genetic material which is the smallest and simplest life-form known. Example: Norwalk virus, hepatitis A.