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BacteriaCommonly known as germs, bacteria are microorganisms found in and on food, people, surfaces, untreated water, dirt, soil, plants, animals and pests.
CalibrationEnsures that the accuracy of readings given by a measuring instrument, such as a probe thermometer, is consistent with a known standard. See Support program 5: Thermometer use, calibration and equipment maintenance.
Clean(Adjective) Free from visible matter, such as food waste, dust, dirt, grease and other contamination and free from objectionable odour.

(Verb) The action of making equipment, utensils, crockery and so on in a condition free from visible matter and odours.
Cleaning scheduleA schedule or list of the cleaning arrangements. It sets out the activities carried out throughout the premises and in relation to equipment, including how often cleaning is to be done and how it is to be carried out (for example, chemicals and equipment required). If your business transports food, it would also include the cleaning of transport containers and vehicles.
Community groupAn organisation or group that sells food solely for the purposes of raising funds for charity, or which is a not-for-profit body.
Contact timeSome chemical cleaning solutions must be in contact with a surface or equipment for a certain amount of time to work effectively, remove dirt or kill bacteria. Check with your chemical supplier.
ContaminantBiological, chemical or physical matter that may lead to a food safety risk (for example, physical matter such as glass in food) or an allergen.
ContaminationThe introduction or occurrence of a contaminant in food.
CoolTo lower the temperature.
Corrective actionThe steps to be taken by your staff where a breach of a control measure occurs (that is, to control the hazard).
Cross- contaminationOccurs when harmful bacteria or allergens spread to food from other food, surfaces, hands or equipment. For example, food poisoning can occur when bacteria in raw meat or seafood juices, or raw egg comes into contact with cooked or ready-to-eat food. Cross-contamination can also occur if equipment used for raw food preparation is then used for cooked or ready-to-eat food.
DeliveryThe receipt of goods from a supplier, at which time the proprietor then takes responsibility for the food.
DetergentChemical, such as washing-up liquid, used to assist with the removal of grease, dirt and food from utensils or equipment. Detergents do not kill bacteria. Detergents work best in clean, hot water.
DisinfectantA chemical used for disinfecting, which kills bacteria. Surfaces must be clean of grease, dirt and food before using disinfectants.
Dry goodsFood ingredients that can be stored at room temperature (not chilled or frozen) without becoming unsafe to eat (for example, flour, sugar, rice, jars and unopened bottles of sauce, canned fruit and raw vegetables).
Dry storageStoring dry goods at room temperature.
Environmental health officerEnvironmental health officers assess risk and monitor and enforce public health laws in a range of areas including food safety. They were formerly known as health inspectors.
EquipmentA machine, instrument, apparatus, utensil or appliance (other than a single-use item) used in connection with food handling.
Food - grade containerA protective covering or wrap that will not contaminate food products, especially by leaching chemicals into the food.
Food handlingThe making, manufacturing, producing, collecting, extracting, processing, storing, transporting, delivering, preparing, treating, preserving, packing, cooking, thawing, serving or displaying of food.
Food handling requirementsA program that covers food handling, personal hygiene, cleaning of the equipment and monitoring of these practices to ensure the safe production of food.
Food poisoningWhen an individual is sick from eating food that has been affected by:
  • Biological contamination – food poisoning bacteria that have grown to large numbers or toxin from bacterial spores that can survive cooking and food that is not cooled quickly.
  • Physical contamination – things found in food that should not be present such as stones, wound strips, hair, glass, insects, wood or metal.
  • Chemical contamination – where cleaning agents, detergents or fly sprays have come in contact with food.
Food recallAn action taken to remove from sale, distribution and consumption foods that pose a safety hazard to consumers. Such foods are retrieved and disposed of.
Food safety supervisorPerson(s) within your business responsible for looking after food safety. The food safety supervisor can recognise, prevent and alleviate the potential hazards associated with handling of food. They must have met the appropriate food safety competency standards for the type of premises they are working in and have the ability and authority (of the proprietor) to supervise other people handling food and ensure it is done safely. For information about qualifications, go to
Food supplierA person or company that provides food ingredients, prepared foods, cooked or ready-to-eat foods to your business.
Foodborne illnessIllness caused through eating contaminated food, such as chemical contamination or a virus or food-poisoning bacteria.
FreezePreserve food by refrigerating below freezing point or using blast freeze equipment.
Frozen productsFoods made solid by refrigeration below freezing. Foods that are partially thawed are not frozen products.
Frozen storageControlled storage conditions that maintain frozen products until required for use.
GarnishTo decorate or embellish food (for example, the addition of parsley on top of lasagna).
Gastroenteritis, gastro (food poisoning)Illness caused either by foodborne or water-borne bacteria. Large numbers of bacteria in food or water can cause those who consume it to become ill. A person with gastro can suffer from a range of symptoms, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, sore throat, fever and jaundice.
HazardA biological, chemical or physical agent in, or a condition of, food that could be dangerous to human health.
High-risk foodsInclude meat, seafood, poultry, eggs once cracked open for use, dairy products and small goods, or foods that contain these items (for example, sandwiches, quiche and prepared salads). Certain foods become high-risk when they are cooked, such as noodles, rice, pasta and similar dry foods. High-risk foods are also known as ‘potentially hazardous’ foods.’ foods.
HoldKeep or reserve; keep in a specified condition.
Hot-holdKeep food at, or above, 60° C using appropriate equipment, such as hot lamps and bains-marie.
MicroorganismsAny living organism that can survive as a single cell, including bacteria, viruses, yeasts and moulds.
Microwave(verb) To cook or heat in a microwave oven.
(noun) An oven that uses high-frequency electromagnetic waves to cook or heat food.
MixTo combine two or more substances.
MonitoringA systematic process followed by staff to check a food handling activity.
OrderA direction or instruction under a law from a regulator about the handling or sale of food.
PeelTo remove the outer covering of a foodstuff (for example, fruit, vegetable, prawn).
Pest controlThe elimination of pests from a food premises and the prevention of pests from entering the premises.
Pest controllerA service provided by specialists to eliminate pests using methods such as bait boxes and other pesticides suitable for use in a food premises.
PestsBirds, rodents, insects
Potable waterWater that is acceptable and safe for human consumption and which must be used in a food business for washing food and/or food ingredients, for cooking, adding to food and drinks, making ice, cleaning of food contact surfaces, cleaning food containers and utensils, hand washing and personal hygiene.
Potential hazardSomething that could make food unsafe, but has not yet done so; potentially hazardous food that must be kept at certain temperatures to minimise the growth of any bacteria.
ProcessIn relation to food, any activity that involves preparation of food for sale.
Processed fruitFruit and vegetables that have been altered from their original state.
Raw egg productsReady-to-eat food that contains raw egg in its final form. Such products have the potential to be hazardous and therefore require special care and handling. Some examples of raw egg products include:
  • homemade sauces – mayonnaise, aioli, egg butter, hollandaise and béarnaise
  • uncooked desserts – chocolate mousse, tiramisu, ice-cream
  • drinks – eggnog and egg flip
  • egg wash – beaten eggs, sometimes mixed with another liquid, and brushedonto foods such as pizza or pastry.
Raw materialsFood before it is changed or processed.
Ready-to-eat foodod that is ordinarily consumed in the same state in which it is sold. This does not include nuts in the shell and whole, raw fruits or vegetables that are intended for hulling, peeling or washing by the consumer.
Refrigerated storageThe storage of potentially hazardous food at a temperature between 0°C and 5°C.
ReheatThe heating of food already cooked and cooled once to a temperature that will kill any microbial organisms that may be growing in that food.
SanitiseTo apply heat or chemicals, or a combination of heat and chemicals, to kill foodpoisoning bacteria or reduce the number of bacteria to a minimum level.
SanitiserA chemical used to reduce the numbers of bacteria on a work surface (see Support program 2: Cleaning and sanitising for more information on cleaning chemicals and how they work).
Self-serviceA process where customers serve themselves.
StandardEstablished method for staff to follow, which ensures food and food processes remain safe.
Stock rotationStorage of food so that the more recently delivered or acquired stock is placed behind existing stock. This practice ensures oldest stock will be used first and helps avoid food passing its 'best before' date.
Temperature controlThe methods used by a business to maintain the temperature of food at 5°C or below for chilled foods and than 60°C or higher for hot foods.
ThawingRemoving food from frozen storage (–15°C) and bringing it to a chilled state (0 to 5°C) prior to preparation or cooking.
ThermometerAn instrument used to measure temperature, such as a probe thermometer (see Support program 5: Thermometer use, calibration and equipment maintenance).
TransportTake or carry goods from one place to another.
WashClean with liquid, especially detergent and water.