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Food Spoilage

Food Spoilage

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foodborne_illnessFoodborne illness (also foodborne disease and colloquially referred to as foodpoisoning
) is anyillnessresulting from the consumption of contaminated food.There are two types of food poisoning: food infection and food intoxication. Foodinfection refers to the presence of bacteria or other microbes which infect the bodyafter consumption. Food intoxication refers to the ingestion of toxins containedwithin the food, including bacterially producedexotoxins, which can happen evenwhen the microbe that produced the toxin is no longer present or able to causeinfection. In spite of the common term food poisoning, most cases are caused by avariety of pathogenic bacteria,viruses,prionsorparasitesthat contaminate food,
rather than chemical or naturaltoxins.http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/Food-Spoilage.topicArticleId-8524,articleId-8516.htmlFood is considered contaminated when unwanted microorganisms are present. Mostof the time the contamination is natural, but sometimes it is artificial. Naturalcontamination occurs when microorganisms attach themselves to foods while thefoods are in their growing stages. For instance, fruits are often contaminated withyeasts because yeasts ferment the carbohydrates in fruits. Artificial contaminationoccurs when food is handled or processed, such as when fecal bacteria enter foodthrough improper handling procedures.Food spoilage is a disagreeable change or departure from the food's normal state.Such a change can be detected with the senses of smell, taste, touch, or vision.Changes occurring in food depend upon the composition of food and themicroorganisms present in it and result from chemical reactions relating to themetabolic activities of microorganisms as they grow in the food.Types of spoilage. Various physical, chemical, and biological factors playcontributing roles in spoilage. For instance, microorganisms that break down fatsgrow in sweet butter (unsalted butter) and cause a type of spoilage called rancidity.Certain types of fungi and bacteria fall into this category. Species of the Gram-negative bacterial rod Pseudomonas are major causes of rancidity. Themicroorganisms break down the fats in butter to produce glycerol and acids, both of which are responsible for the smell and taste of rancid butter.Another example occurs in meat, which is primarily protein. Bacteria able to digestprotein (proteolytic bacteria) break down the protein in meat and releaseodoriferous products such as putrescine and cadaverine. Chemical products such asthese result from the incomplete utilization of the amino acids in the protein.Food spoilage can also result in a sour taste. If milk is kept too long, for example, itwill sour. In this case, bacteria that have survived pasteurization grow in the milk 
 
and produce acid from the carbohydrate lactose in it. The spoilage will occur morerapidly if the milk is held at room temperature than if refrigerated. The sour taste isdue to the presence of lactic acid, acetic acid, butyric acid, and other food acids.Sources of microorganisms. The general sources of food spoilage microorganismsare the air, soil, sewage, and animal wastes. Microorganisms clinging to foods grownin the ground are potential spoilers of the food. Meats and fish products arecontaminated by bacteria from the animal's internal organs, skin, and feet. Meat israpidly contaminated when it is ground for hamburger or sausage because thebacteria normally present on the outside of the meat move into the chopped meatwhere there are many air pockets and a rich supply of moisture. Fish tissues arecontaminated more readily than meat because they are of a looser consistency andare easily penetrated.Canned foods are sterilized before being placed on the grocery shelf, but if thesterilization has been unsuccessful, contamination or food spoilage may occur.Swollen cans usually contain gas produced by members of the genus Clostridium.Sour spoilage without gas is commonly due to members of the genus Bacillus. Thistype of spoilage is called flat-sour spoilage. Lactobacilli are responsible for acidspoilage when they break down the carbohydrates in foods and produce detectableamounts of acid.Among the important criteria determining the type of spoilage are the nature of thefood preserved, the length of time before it is consumed, and the handling methodsneeded to process the foods. Various criteria determine which preservation methodsare used.http://www.foodservice.com/food_safety/fb6.cfmWhy Does Food Spoil?Food, just like humans, gradually deteriorates because of a natural aging process.However, there are a few things we can do that will have a positive effect on theshelf life and safety of our food. Some preservation is done at the foodmanufacturing level and some occurs naturally, but a better understanding of theprocesses may help you extend the shelf life. Preservation methods and storageconditions must be designed to reduce the rate of decomposition and protect thesafety, appearance and taste of our food.The causes of food spoilage - Once food is harvested or slaughtered, its plant oranimal tissue soon starts to decay. Microorganisms, such as fungi (molds & yeasts),spoilage bacteria, and their enzymes usually cause the spoilage process. Not all thesechanges in food are undesirable. Some people like aged beef and cheeses or very ripefruit. The production of wine and beer involves conversion of sugars to alcohol,while souring of milk is essential in the production of cheese.
 
However, it is important to remember that some of the conditions that acceleratespoilage, such as inappropriate temperature and moisture control, also encouragethe growth of pathogenic microorganisms that cause foodborne illness.Consequently, spoiled food is not just an issue of quality, it is also often a question of food safety.Mold & Yeast: Corn, nuts, breads, meat, cheeses, fruits and vegetables are allaffected by mold. Do not try to salvage cheese that shows visible mold by cutting itaway, unless of course it is a natural part of the cheese (i.e. bleu cheese, Brie, orCamembert). Mold forms a network of microscopic strands that extend into thefoods which could cause allergic reactions or illness, so discarding them is the safestoption. Most cheeses do not improve with age. Deli meats are the same. Yeast cancause discoloration, slime, and odors on sweet, acidic refrigerated foods or jams/jellies.Bacteria: Some spoilage bacteria are also pathogenic (disease causing). For example,Clostridium perfringens (a common cause of spoilage in meat & poultry) andBacillus cereus (spoils milk & cream) are also responsible for causing foodborneillness. Most foods are subject to bacterial growth.Enzymes: Enzymes are naturally present in the cells of microorganisms that break down animal and plant foods. Breakdown continues until blanching or cookinginactivates the enzymes.Other causes of spoilage include: 1) the bruising or piercing of vegetables, fruits orvacuum packaged food by rough handling; 2) oxidation (changes the taste or texturewhen exposed to oxygen) or freezer burn; 3) pest infestation as a result of poorreceiving control, storage, rotation or cleaning; 4) adulteration through addition of leftover, inferior or undesirable food or ingredients to fresh food.Detecting spoilage relies on being aware of the typical indicators, such asappearance (discoloration or slime), texture, smell or taste (obviously notrecommended if any of the others are present).Bottom line prevention - When in doubt, throw it out. Food spoilage affects yourbottom line in food waste dollars. Prevention includes good receiving inspectionpractices, following the manufacturer's instructions, unfailing temperaturerecording and control, being observant and of course good sanitation and personalhygiene by food handlers.http://www.nhf.org.nz/index.asp?PageID=2145823148Causes and Prevention of Food SpoilageWhat causes food spoilage? How can you prevent it?

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