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What are consumer control points:

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Food Safety Lessons Introduction Lesson One: Whats Bugging You? Lesson Two: What are Consumer Control Points? Lesson Three: Where is the Danger Zone? Lesson Four: Who is FAT TOM? Glossary of Terms Food Safety References Contact the Food Safety Project Team

Glossary of Food Safety Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary. If the term you are looking for starts with a digit or symbol, choose the '#' link.

- A -

A substance with a pH below 7.0. Acidic substances include lemons (pH 2.4) and mayonnaise (pH 3.0).
Needs oxygen to grow.
Absence of oxygen.
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- B -


Tiny, one-celled microorganisms found in the environment. Bacteria multiply rapidly in food under the right conditions, and some bacteria can cause foodborne illness. Helpful bacteria can be used to make yogurt, vinegar and some cheeses.


A substance with a pH above 7.0. Substances with a base pH include soap(pH 10.0) and ammonia (pH 11.2).

Biological hazard

Exposure to food by disease-causing microorganisms or toxins that are found in some plants and fish.


Toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum.

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- C -

Campylobacter jejuni

Pathogenic microorganism that causes foodborne illness.

Chemical hazards

Substances such as cleaning solutions and sanitizers.


Free of visible soil.

Consumer Control Points

Points in the process of food preparation when harmful microorganisms can contaminate the food. When conditions such as time, temperature or moisture may  encourage the growth of microorganisms. Food handling practices that prevent foodborne illness are critical at these points.


The unintended presence of harmful substances or microorganisms in food.


A Consumer Control Point to reminds consumers that thorough cooking will destroy harmful bacteria.


The transfer of harmful bacteria from one food to another. Harmful bacteria can not only be transferred from food to food, but also from hands to food.

Cryptosporidium parvum

A one-celled animal (protozoa) that can cause foodborne illness.

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- D -

Danger Zone

The range of temperatures at which most bacteria multiply rapidly, between 41 F and 140 F.

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- E -

Escherichia coli 0157:H7

Strain of enteropathic E. coli found in ground beef, raw milk, chicken.

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- F -

Foodborne illness

An illness caused by pathogenic bacteria that is carried or transmitted to humans by food.
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- H -

Handling leftovers

A Consumer Control Point to remind consumers that proper care of remaining food that has been served will help ensure the food's quality and safety.

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- I -


An individual with an existing disease or weakened physical condition who may be more susceptible to becoming ill from foodborne illness.

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- J -

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- K -

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- L -


Infection with Listeria monocytogenes usually found in vegetables, milk, cheese, meat, seafood.

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- M -


A general term for bacteria, molds, fungus, or viruses, that can be seen only with a microscope.

Moisture content

The amount of water in food.

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- N -


A substance with a pH of 7.0. Substances with a pH rating close to neutral include meats and milk products (pH 6.4).

Norwalk virus

Virus that contaminates raw oysters/shellfish, water and ice, salads, frosting, person-to-person contact.

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- P -


Symbol for degree of acidity or alkalinity of a substance, measured on a scale from 0 to 14.0.


A disease-causing microorganism.


Subject to decay or spoilage unless properly stored.

Personal hygiene

The way a person maintains their health, appearance and cleanliness.

Physical hazard

The presence of foreign particles, like glassor metal, in foods.

Potentially hazardous food

Moist, high-protein, low acid foods that consist, in whole or in part, of milk or milk products, shell eggs, meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, baked or boiled potatoes, tofu and other soy-protein foods, plant foods that have been heat-treated, raw seed sprouts, or synthetic ingredients.


A Consumer Control Point to remind consumers that food can cause foodborne illness when conditions in the environment encourage bacterial growth.


Maintain quality and safety of food by removing moisture and/or air


A Consumer Control Point to remind consumers that they can control food safety from the moment they put food in their grocery cart.

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- R -

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- S -


Free of harmful levels of disease-causing microorganisms and other potentially harmful contaminants.

Sanitizing solution

One tablespoon chlorine bleach in one gallon clean water.


Dates used by retailers to guide rotation of shelf stock.


Infection with Salmonella species. Found in meat, poultry, egg or milk products.


A Consumer Control Point to remind consumers to choose a serving style which will allow food to be served as quickly as possible, while maintaining desirable temperatures (between 40 and 140).


Toxin produced by certain strains of Staphylococcus aureus; often found in custard or cream-filled baked goods, ham, poultry, eggs, potato salad, cream sauces, sandwich fillings.


A Consumer Control Point to remind consumers that peoper storage maintains the quality of food and helps prevent contamination.

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- T -

Toxoplasma gondii

Parasitic infection caused by contamination from rat, rodent or bird feces; litter boxes.

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- W -

Water activity

The amount of water that is available for bacterial growth. Water activity ( Aw ) is the amount of water available for deterioration reactions and is measured on a scale of 0 to 1.0. Bacteria, yeast, and mold multiply rapidly at a high water activity--above 0.86. Meat, produce and soft cheeses have Aw in this range (between 0.86 and 1.0).

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- Y -


Infection with Yersinia enterocolitica in raw milk, chocolate milk, water, pork, other raw meats.

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