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Module 4: Enforcement issues

Section 2: Glossary of terms used in this module

This section gives definitions of the terms used in this module.

Glossary of terms

The following terms have been used in this module:

Batch: a group or set of identifiable products obtained from a given process under practically identical circumstances and produced in a given place within one defined production period.

Challenge testing: deliberate inoculation of relevant micro-organisms into a food product to determine the product’s ability to support survival, growth or inactivation of the organism during storage at defined temperature(s).

Controlling factor: factors that can be used to prevent growth and toxin production by non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum. In addition to chill temperatures (less than or equal to 8ºC), the following factors should be used singly or in combination to prevent growth and toxin production by non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum in prepared chill foods with an assigned shelf-life of more than ten days:

  • a heat treatment of 90ºC for ten minutes or equivalent lethality
  • a pH of 5 or less throughout the food
  • a salt level of 3.5% or more (aqueous) throughout the food
  • an aw of 0.97 or lower throughout the food
  • a combination of heat and preservation factors, which has been shown to consistently prevent growth and toxin production by non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum

Modified atmosphere packaging: atmosphere in a packaged product (gas) that differs from the ambient atmosphere.

Non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum: a non-proteolytic clostridia that grows and forms botulinum neurotoxin at chill temperatures.

Shelf-life: the period during which the product maintains its microbiological safety and organoleptic qualities at a specific storage temperature. It is based on identified hazards for the product, heat or other preservation treatments, packaging method and other hurdles, or inhibiting factors that may be used.

Vacuum packaging: the removal of all or most of the air in a package, without deliberate replacement with another gas mixture. An airtight seal prevents the return of the air.

Validation: obtaining evidence that the elements of the HACCP plan are effective.