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  • Acid
    A substance with a pH below 7.0. Acidic substances include lemons (pH 2.4) and mayonnaise (pH 3.0).
  • Critical Control Point (CCP)
    A CCP is a step at which regulation can be applied and is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level.
  • Carbon Monoxide in Food Packaging
    Using carbon monoxide in the processing of packaged meats and fish is in order to maintain the red, “fresh”-looking color and to extend shelf life. Although there is no data showing the ingestion of carbon monoxide is inherently dangerous, there are concerns that its use in packaging could pose potential dangers for the health and well-being of consumers. | Related: Carbon Monoxide in Food Packaging
  • Carrier
    A carrier is a symptomless individual who is host to a pathogenic microorganism and who has the potential to pass the pathogen to others.
  • Chem 10 or 20
    Chem 10 or 20 stands for a battery of chemical tests (Chem 10 = 10 tests; Chem 20 = 20 tests) performed on serum (portion of blood without cells). It is usually performed with a CBC to test for electrolytes, creatinine, BUN, etc.
  • Chemical Hazards
    Chemical hazards are substances such as cleaning solutions and sanitizers that can pose a health risk if they end up in food.
  • Chronic
    Chronic is the course of a disease persisting over a long period of time.
  • Coagulopathy
    Coagulopathy is the alteration of the mechanism that leads to normal clotting of the blood; may result in too much or too little clotting.
  • Coccus
    Coccus is the term used to describe any bacterium that has a spherical shape. It is one of the three distinct types of bacteria shapes. See bacillus (rod-shaped) and spirillum (spiral-shaped). The plural of coccus is cocci.
  • Colitis
    Colitis is inflammation of the colon; the usual symptoms are diarrhea, sometimes with blood and mucus, and lower abdominal pain.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
    A CBC is series of tests in which the numbers of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a given volume of blood are counted. CBC also measures hemoglobin content and packed cell volume (hematocrit) of red blood cells, assesses the size and shape of the red blood cells (blood smear), and determines the types and percentages of white blood cells. Components of the complete blood count (hemoglobin, hematocrit, white blood cells, platelets, etc.) can also be tested separately when a doctor wants to monitor a specific condition.
  • Contamination
    Contamination is the presence of non-disclosed, unintended, and/or harmful substances or microorganisms in food.
  • Corrective Actions
    Corrective actions are to be taken when the results of monitoring at the CCP indicate a loss of control.
  • Creatinine
    Creatinine is a waste product (from muscle activity) found in the bloodstream that is excreted in urine. Like urea/nitrogen, creatinine is removed by healthy kidneys. In HUS, the creatinine level rises well above normal, indicating kidneys are not filtering the blood properly.
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
    CJD is a rare, degenerative, invariably fatal brain disorder. In the 1990’s a link was found in the U.K. between Variant CJD and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow disease”) due to meat from infected cattle entering the food chain.
  • Critical Limit
    Critical limit is a criterion which separates acceptability from unacceptability.
  • CAFO
    Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation
  • Cross-contamination
    Cross-contamination is the transfer of harmful bacteria. Harmful bacteria can not only be transferred from food to food, but also from hands to food.
  • Cryptosporidium parvum
    Cryptosporidium parvum is a single-celled animal (protozoa) that can cause foodborne illness.
  • Danger Zone (or Temperature Danger Zone)
    The danger zone is the range of temperatures at which most bacteria multiply rapidly, between 41 °F and 140 °F (50 °C – 60 °C).
  • Dehydration
    Dehydration is a condition where the body does not have as much water and fluids as it should. Dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe based on how much of the body’s fluid is lost or not replenished. When it is severe, dehydration is a life-threatening emergency.
  • Disease Surveillance
    Disease surveillance is an epidemiological practice by which the spread of illness is monitored in order to establish patterns of progression. The main role is to predict, observe, and minimize the harm caused by outbreak, epidemic, and pandemic situations, as well as increase knowledge about which factors contribute to such circumstances. A key part of modern disease surveillance is the practice of disease case reporting.
  • Disinfectant
    A disinfectant is a chemical that kills bacteria. Check that surfaces are cleaned of grease, dirt and food before you use a disinfectant. Chemicals that kill bacteria are sometimes called germicides, bactericides, or biocides.
  • DNA Fingerprinting
    DNA Fingerprinting is done to identify and evaluate the genetic information called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in cells. It is called “fingerprinting” because, like fingerprints, it is very unlikely that any two people would have exactly the same DNA information. DNA is used to determine a genetic relationship between two people, and to identify organisms causing a disease.
  • Dosage (inoculum size)
    Here, dosage refers to the number of pathogenic microorganisms entering the host.
  • Dysentery
    Dysentery is inflammation of intestines with accompanying severe abdominal cramps, and frequent, low-volume stools containing blood, mucus, and fecal leukocytes.
  • Alkaline
    The term pH is used by scientists to describe how acidic a substance is on a scale of 0 to 14. Alkalinity measures the ability of a solution to neutralize an acid. A pH of 0 is acidic (lemon juice and vinegar has a pH=2) and a pH of 14 is alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral (pure water has a pH=7).   
  • Gram-positive Bacteria
    What is Gram-positive? Gram-positive bacteria are those that are stained dark blue or violet by Gram staining. These bacteria have thick peptidoglycan layers in their cell walls that retain the dark stain, differentiating them from Gram-negative bacteria. Gram-positive bacteria, such as Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Listeria, and Clostridium are responsible for a large proportion of serious infections worldwide.
  • Peptidoglycan
    The main component in the cell wall of most bacteria is called peptidoglycan.
  • AFDO
    Association of Food and Drug Officials. Since 1896 AFDO has consisted of  government officials, public health officials, university researchers and professors, industry executives, and consumer advocates sharing a common goal — to improve public health through uniform laws, regulations and guidelines for such things as allergens, cannabis, manufactured food, produce safety, retail food, and foodborne outbreaks to name only a few.
  • E. coli O157:H7
    Strain of enteropathic E. coli found in ground beef, raw milk, and chicken. E. coli O157:H7, a pathogenic strain rarely found in humans, produces a toxin that can cause severe damage to the lining of the intestine, the blood vessels, and blood cells.
  • Campylobacter jejuni
    Campylobacter jejuni is a species of bacteria commonly found in animal feces. It is one of the most common causes of human gastroenteritis in the world.
  • Community-Acquired
    Community-Acquired MRSA or CA MRSA
  • Acute
    Course of a disease that is of sudden onset, marked intensity (relatively severe), and short duration.
  • APHA
    American Public Health Association
  • Adulterant
    An adulterant is a substance found within a food that is detrimental to human or animal health, and its presence renders that product illegal to sell or distribute. Related: Declaring Specific Pathogens Adulterants
  • Aerobic
    An organism growing in the presence of oxygen.
  • Ag-gag laws
    Ag-gag laws are a set of anti-whistle-blower laws, that criminalize undercover investigations in the agriculture or food industry (i.e., penalties for filming, sound recording, picture taking, falsifying one’s identity, or lying on a job application). Related: “Ag-gag” Laws and Whistle-blower Protections
  • Agar
    A gelatinous material derived from certain marine algae. It is used as a base for bacterial culture media and as a stabilizer and thickener in many food products.
  • Allergens
    Allergens are substances which cause hypersensitive immune reactions. Such substances are normally harmless and would not cause an immune response in everyone. Allergens found in food products may endanger human health.
  • Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA)
    Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics stated mission is to strengthen global defenses against infectious disease by ensuring access to effective treatment and promoting appropriate antibiotic use to contain drug resistance.
  • AMI (American Meat Institute)
    The American Meat Institute began in Chicago in 1906 when the Institute was created in response to the passage of the Federal Meat Inspection Act. In 2015, the AMI merged with NAMA (North American Meat Association) to form NAMI (North American Meat Institute), the largest meat and poultry trade association in North America.
  • Anaerobe
    An organism normally growing only in the absence of oxygen.
  • Anemia
    A condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.
  • ANSI
    American National Standards Institute
  • Antibiotic / ABX
    A substance produced by a microorganism or a similar product produced wholly (synthetic) or partially (semi-synthetic) by chemical synthesis and in low concentrations inhibits the growth of, or kills, bacteria, fungi, or protozoa. ABX is an acronym for antibiotic (or antibiotics).
  • Antibiotic-resistant / ABR
    An inability for a drug to combat a microorganism, because some (or, less commonly, all) sub-populations of a microbe, usually a bacterial species, are able to survive after exposure to one or more antibiotics. ABR is an acronym for antibiotic-resistant, as in: That strain of Salmonella is ABR.
  • Antimicrobial drug
    Antimicrobial drugs is a general term used to refer to a group of medications including antibiotics, antifungals, antiprotozoals, and antivirals. These pharmaceutical remedies are used to treat microbial infections in both humans and animals.
  • Anuric
    The state of producing no urine. Anuria is often caused by failure in the function of kidneys or because of some severe obstruction like kidney stones or tumors. It may occur with end stage renal disease. The non-passage of urine, in practice, is defined as passage of less than 100 milliliters of urine in a day.
  • Arthritis
    An inflammation of one or more joints. A joint is the area where two bones meet. Arthritis is common in adults 65 and older, but it can affect people of all ages, races, and ethnic groups. Two of the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • BSE
    BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy)  is a progressive neurological disorder of cattle that results from infection by an unusual transmissible agent called a prion. The normal prion protein changes into a pathogenic (harmful) form that then damages the central nervous system of cattle. BSE is also commonly called “Mad Cow Disease.”
    The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • AVMA
    American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Bacillus
    Any rod-shaped bacterial cell; bacilli (plural). It is one of the three distinct types of bacteria shapes. See coccus(spherical-shaped) and spirillum (spiral-shaped).
  • Bacteria
    Bacteria are single-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.
  • Bacteriophage
    A bacteriophage is a virus that infects a bacterium and replicates within it. Bacteriophages were discovered in 1915 and immediately recognized as potential antimicrobials. The term is derived from bacteria and the Greek word phagein, meaning “to devour.”
  • Base
    A base is a substance with a pH above 7.0. Substances with a base pH include soap (pH 10.0) and ammonia (pH 11.2). See alkaline.
  • Benign
    Benign is a term referring to a non-life- or non-health-threatening condition.
  • Biliary
    Biliary means having to do with the liver or bile ducts.
  • Biological hazard
    A biological hazard is disease-causing microorganism or toxins that are found in some plants and fish. Exposure to these hazards or their inclusion in food can pose a health risk.
  • Blood Test
    A blood test is a scientific examination of a sample of blood, typically for the diagnosis of illness or for the detection germs such as bacteria or fungi. A blood test can show what type of germ is causing an infection, and help determine the course of treatment.
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
    BUN is a blood test that measures blood’s content of urea. When you eat protein, your blood carries some of it to your cells; and what’s left over is a waste called urea (which contains nitrogen). Healthy kidneys get rid of urea in the urine and when the kidneys fail, urea stays in the blood. So, the BUN test is used primarily to evaluate renal (kidney) function by measuring the urea found in the blood stream. It may also indicate liver disease or dehydration. In HUS, BUN level rises well above normal, indicating that kidneys are not filtering the blood properly.
  • Botulism
    Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
  • Bradycardia
    Bradycardia is a slower than normal heart rate. The heart usually beats between 60 and 100 times a minute in an adult at rest. If you have bradycardia, your heart beats fewer than 60 times minute.
  • Bridgemanization
    See High Pressure Processing
  • Ecology
    The study of the relationship between organisms and their environment.