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Glossary and abbreviations

Acid preserves

foods that have a high acid content that inhibits spoilage.


deliberate contamination of foods with materials of low quality.

Average weight

a known proportion of containers have a fill-weight above that shown system on the label.


units of measurement of sugar concentration

Case hardening

the formation of a dry skin on a wet food due to over-rapid drying. It slows the rate of drying and can lead to spoilage during storage.


the addition of chlorine to water to destroy micro-organisms.


materials that are accidentally included with a food (e.g. dirt, leaves, stalks etc.).

Critical control

stages in a process where quality control can have a major effect on


food quality.


the transfer of soils or micro-organisms from raw food to contamination processed food.


natural proteins in foods that can cause changes to colour, flavour or texture of the food.

Equilibrium Relative Humidity

the moisture content at which a food does not gain or lose weight and is stable during storage


the amount of food placed into a container or package and written on the label (also net weight).

HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) system

a system used to identify and control contamination in food processing.


the amount of water vapour in air.


an instrument that measures specific gravity of liquids, used to measure salt, sugar or alcohol concentration.

Limited liability

the liability of shareholders in a company to the nominal value of their shares

Low-acid foods

foods that have little acid and therefore can contain food poisoning bacteria if poorly processed.


tiny forms of life, invisible until they are in large numbers, including moulds, bacteria and yeasts.

Minimum weight

all packages have a fill-weight equal to or greater than that shown on the label.

Net weight

the amount of food filled into a container.


movement of water through cell walls of plants or micro organisms


a natural gelling agent found in some fruits


a scale used to express acidity or alkalinity, from 1 (strong acid) through 7 (neutral) to 14 (strong alkali).

Potable water

water that will not cause illness.

Preservation index

a figure that is calculated to show that the amounts of acid, sugar and salt are enough to prevent spoilage of foods.

Quality assurance

a management system which controls each stage of food production from raw material harvest to final consumption.

Quality control

a series of checks and control measures that ensure that a uniform quality food is produced.


an instrument that measures the refractive index of a liquid, which is used to measure soluble solids in syrups or salt in brines.

Shelf life

the time that a processed food can be stored before changes in colour, flavour, texture or the number of micro-organisms make it unacceptable.

Sodium benzoate

a chemical preservative that is particularly effective against yeasts.

Sodium metabisulphite

a chemical preservative that is effective against moulds and yeasts.


any material that contaminates food or equipment (e.g. grease, scale, burned-on food or other food residues).


a group of people formed into an association that does not constitute a association single legal entity.

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