Industry Terminology/Glossary

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Absorbent Packing – Material within a package which absorbs liquids from product; pad in meat trays is made from paper and has a plastic liner.

Advanced Meat Recovery (AMR) – AMR is a process that uses machinery to separate edible meat from bones by scraping, shaving, or pressing the meat from the bone. AMR machinery is not permitted to break, grind, crush, or pulverize bones to separate meat, and bones must emerge intact and in natural physical conformation. Meat produced using this method is comparable in appearance, texture, and composition to meat trimmings and similar meat products derived by hand trimming of bones.

Adulterated Food – Generally, impure, unsafe, or unwholesome; products found to be adulterated cannot enter into commerce for human food use.

AIB – American Institute of Baking is a quality/auditing association committed to protecting the safety of the food supply chain worldwide and providing high value technical programs.

Allergens – A protein in a food that is capable of causing an allergic reaction in a person. The most common allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, fish, shellfish, soy,wheat, and tree nuts. Allergens may cause an allergic response including anaphylactic shock and even death in a consumer. The best prevention is by eliminating cross contact, adequate cleaning, and complete labeling.

Alpha-linolenic acid – an omega-3 fatty acid important for brain and cardiovascular health

Alpha-lipoic acid  – an antioxidant coenzyme that also may enhance insulin function and counteract insulin resistance.

Amenable – Refers to animals that are subject to the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act’s mandatory inspection requirements.

Anaerobic – does not require oxygen

Animal Disposition Reporting System (ADRS) – The Animal Disposition Reporting System contains slaughter totals and disposition summaries for federally inspected livestock and poultry slaughter establishments. If a carcass is condemned, the reason for condemnation, also referred to as the disposition, is recorded in the ADRS database.

Animal Food – Any article intended for use as food for dogs, cats, or other animals derived wholly, or in part, from the carcass or parts or products of the carcass of any livestock (excluding processed dry animal food or livestock or poultry feeds manufactured from processed livestock byproducts).

Animal Food Manufacturer – Any person engaged in the business of manufacturing or processing animal food.

Antemortem Inspection – Refers to the examination that USDA meat and poultry inspectors are required to conduct of all live animals prior to slaughter.

Antioxidant – Substance added to food to prevent the oxygen present in the air from causing undesirable changes in flavor and/or color.

Anthocyanins – powerful antioxidants responsible for the red, blue and purple coloring in berries and other plants. (See “Flavonoids.”)

Antioxidants – chemical compounds that scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are by-products of the oxidative reactions that can cause cell damage.

ANZFA – Australia New Zealand Food Authority

Artificial Coloring – A coloring containing any dye or pigment manufactured by a process of synthesis or other similar artifice, or a coloring which was manufactured by extracting naturally produced dyes or pigments from a plant or other material.

Artificial Flavoring – Artificial flavors are restricted to an ingredient which was manufactured by a process of synthesis or similar process. The principal components of artificial flavors usually are esters, ketones, and aldehyde groups.

Aseptic – Free of pathogenic microorganisms

Aseptic Packaging – Technique for creating a shelf-stable container by placing a commercially sterile product into a commercially sterile container in a commercially sterile environment. The sealed container is designed to maintain product sterility until the seal is broken.

Autocad – a software application for 2D and 3D computer-aided design and drafting

Automated – a system where machines handle and control the processing from raw materials to the finished product.




Bacteria – a large group of single-celled micro-organisms which can be both harmful and helpful to food.

Bacteriophage - a virus which destroys bacteria – of particular concern for fermented foods, where bacteriophages destroy starter organisms needed to make cheese and yogurt

Baking – Process of cooking (food) by dry heat without direct exposure to a flame, typically in an oven or on a hot surface.

Baste – To moisten meat or other food while cooking. Melted butter or other fat, meat drippings, or liquid such as stock is spooned or brushed on food as it cooks to moisten it.

Basted or Self Basted – Bone-in poultry products that are injected or marinated with a solution containing butter or other edible fat, broth, stock or water plus spices, flavor enhancers and other approved substances must be labeled as basted or self-basted. The maximum added weight of approximately 3% solution before processing is included in the net weight on the label.

Beef Suet – Hard fat from kidneys and loin, mainly used for tallow.

Beta-carotene – see “carotenoid,” below

Bi-Lingual – A person fluent in speaking two languages

Biofilm – A build-up of food, bacteria and debris that sticks to surfaces and protects them from cleaners and sanitizers.

Bioluminator – a handheld machine that measures ATP (a substance found in all living organisms including bacteria and meat residue) which is swabbed from equipment surfaces. It is an educational tool that can be used as a visual aid to show if cleaning is adequate or not.

Black belt (Six Sigma) – The job of the black belt consists of analyzing business and operations processes and suggesting and implementing more efficient ways of performing functions, which in turn will save the company money.

Blending – Process of mixing one substance with another to create one single mass.

Boiling point elevation - increase in boiling point over that of water and dependent on the number of molecules in solution – important in drying and evaporation.

Bottling – The process of putting beverages, or liquids, into bottles or jars.

Blanching – process of immersing in hot water or heating in steam at 95°C for 1-5 minutes to reduce enzyme activity

Breaded – a process by which food is coated with breadcrumbs and then fried

Brine – A strong solution of water and salt. Brine may also contain a sweetener such as sugar, molasses, honey, or corn syrup, for flavor and to improve browning.

Brine Curing – Brine curing (or wet curing) is the most popular way of producing hams. It is a wet cure whereby fresh meat is injected with a curing solution before cooking. Smoke flavoring (liquid smoke) may also be injected with brine solution. Cooking may occur during this process.

Buttered – process of which something is covered in butter




Can – To pack a product in a can or a wide-mouth glass container for processing, shipping or storage.

Captive Bolt – An instrument used to stun cattle prior to slaughter. The bolt is driven into the animal’s brain, rendering it unconscious.

Canning – The process of preserving foods by sealing into jars or cans

Carbohydrate - hydrate of carbon and hydrogen (CH2O) including sugars, starch and polysaccharide

Carcass - All parts of any slaughtered livestock.

Carnitine – a compound derived from the amino acid lysine; aids fatty-acid metabolism, energy and growth.

Carotenoids – class of a group of flavonoid vitaminic compounds, such as beta-carotene, related to vitamin A. Found in red, orange, green and yellow vegetables, fruits and plants, plus a number of other food sources. Carotenoids are well-studied and have strong antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antitumorigenic and anticataract abilities.

Casing – A membranous case for processed meat.

Centrifugal pump - The rotation of an impeller forces the product into and out of the pump cavity – in which the fluid is accelerated centrifugally until it attains the tangential velocity close to the impeller tip.  The flow is controlled by the choice of impeller diameter and rotary speed of the pump drive

Centrifugation – a process by which liquid samples are spun around at high speed to cause the accelerated settling of particles in suspension.

Certified – The term implies that the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has officially evaluated a meat product for class, grade, or other quality characteristics.

Colony forming unit (CFU) - term used to enumerate bacteria by the plate count method.  Colonies on a plate may arise from more than one colony, which makes CFU more correct that “number of organisms

Chelation – complexion of metal ions with an organic compound – used to remove calcium and magnesium salts from water (water softening)

Chemical Inertness – substances or elements which do not react easily with any other substances or elements. Chemically inactive materials.

Chemical Preservative – Any chemical that, when added to a meat or meat food product, tends to prevent or retard deterioration thereof, but does not include common salt, sugars, vinegars, spices, or oils extracted from spices or substances added to meat and meat food products by exposure to wood smoke.

CIP (cleaned in place) - Circulation cleaning of food plant equipment without taking it apart.

Choline – a saturated amine compound essential for cardiovascular and brain function, and cell membrane structure and repair. It also helps the body utilize B vitamins and lower levels of homocysteine, helping to prevent heart disease.

Chromium – a mineral that, in its trivalent form, is considered nutritionally essential although in trace amounts (25-35 micrograms per day). Chromium has been shown to contribute to glucose metabolism by enhancing the effects of insulin.

Chub – An acceptable name to denote a short, usually plump meat food product, unsliced in casing.

Clarifier - generally a disc-type centrifuge that employs forces of 5 to 10 thousand times gravity and forcing the denser material to the outside.

Cinnamide – an active chemical compound from cinnamon shown in some studies to increase insulin response and help management of blood sugar for persons with diabetes.

Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10) – is a vitaminlike molecule critical to energy production in every animal cell that also acts as an antioxidant. Found mostly in meat, poultry and fish with smaller amounts in plant sources, specifically nuts and seeds.*

Co-extrusion – (or Co-ex film) is a multi-layer plastic film made by extruding two or more molten plastics and layering them together to produce a film on cooling. They are designed for many special-purpose packaging for flexible wraps, bags and pouches

Colligative property - a physical property that is dependent upon the number of molecules in the product, rather that the type of molecule – dictates freezing point depression, boiling point elevation.

Controlled Atmosphere Packaging (CAP) – Packaging method in which selected atmospheric concentrations of gases are maintained throughout storage in order to extend product shelf life. Gas may either be evacuated or introduced to achieve the desired atmosphere. Normally used for fruits and vegetables, not meat products.

Cooking – the process of preparing food by combining, mixing, and heating ingredients.

COP (cleaned out of place) - Circulation of equipment parts in a tank washer after dissemble.  Generally the parts are placed in a tank and the parts are cleaned by circulation of the cleaning solution in the cleaning tank.

Corned Beef – Corning is a form of curing one of the several less-tender cuts of beef like the brisket, rump or round. The name originated before refrigeration, when meat was dry-cured in coarse “corns” of salt. Pellets of salt, some the size of kernels of corn, were rubbed into the beef to keep it from spoiling and to preserve it. Today, brining has replaced the dry salt cure, but the name “corned beef” is still used, rather than “brined” or “pickled” beef.

Conventional cook-chill – this is when foods are cooked by conventional methods prior to aseptic packaging and chilling. These foods can be refrigerated for up to five days.

CPET – crystallised polyethylene terephthalate: a type of plastic suitable for microwave packaging. It is heat resistant to 220°C and transparent to microwave energy.

Cream separator - a disc type centrifuge in which the fluid is separated into low and high density fluid streams that permits the separate collection of cream and skim milk.

Cross-contamination – The transfer of harmful substances or disease-causing microorganisms to food by hands, food-contact surfaces, sponges, cloth towels and utensils that touch raw food, are not cleaned, and then touch ready-to-eat foods. Cross contamination can also occur when raw food touches or drips onto cooked or ready-to-eat foods.

Curcumin – an active compound in spices such as turmeric and cumin, which has shown a strong ability to help regulate blood sugar

Cure – A chemical agent placed in or on meat or poultry for use in preservation, flavor, or color.

Curing – Curing is the addition of salt, sodium nitrate (or saltpeter), nitrites and sometimes sugars, seasonings, phosphates and ascorbates to pork for preservation, color development and flavor enhancement.

Cutting Up – Any division of any carcass or part thereof, except that the trimming of carcasses or parts thereof to remove surface contaminants is not considered as cutting up.




Date Marking - The growth of pathogenic bacteria to dangerous levels can result when potentially hazardous foods are held at refrigerated temperatures for extended periods. To monitor and limit refrigeration time, refrigerated ready-to eat (RTE) potentially hazardous food must be date marked to assure that the food is either consumed or discarded within seven days.

Dead Livestock – The body (cadaver) of livestock which has died otherwise than by slaughter.

Downer (or downed animals) – Commonly used term for an animal that is unable to rise and walk.

Deboning – The process of removing bones from meat

Degradability – the ability of materials to be broken down

Dehydration – removal of water from the tissues of an organism.

Demographic – vital and social statistics concerning the population including distribution, ethnic background, marriage rates, birth rates, etc.

DHA – Docosahexaenoic acid; one of the polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (oils) important to brain and cardiac health (see omega-3, below).

Distillation – the action of purifying a liquid by a process of heating and cooling.

Dry Aged – Fresh meat is held (without vacuum packing) for various periods of time (typically 10 days to 6 weeks) under controlled temperatures (34°F to 38°F), humidity, and airflow to avoid spoilage and ensure flavor enhancement, tenderness, and palatability.

Dry Curing – Dry curing is the process used to make country hams and prosciutto. Fresh meat is rubbed with a dry cure mixture of salt and other ingredients. Dry curing produces a salty product. Since dry curing draws out moisture, it reduces ham weight by at least 18%, resulting in a more concentrated ham flavor.

Drying – removal of free water from a product – which may be accomplished by sun drying, oven drying, spray drying or freeze drying.

D-value – The time required to reduce the microbial population by one log cycle at a specified temperature




Ecological – to do with a branch of science which investigates the relationships among living things and their surroundings.

Edible – Intended for use as human food.

Effluent – liquid industrial waste

Egg Products – Eggs that are removed from their shells for processing. The processing of egg products includes breaking eggs, filtering, mixing, stabilizing, blending, pasteurizing, cooling, freezing or drying, and packaging. Egg products include whole eggs, whites, yolks and various blends with or without non-egg ingredients that are processed and pasteurized and may be available in liquid, frozen, and dried forms.

Emissions – discharge released into the atmosphere from processing

Emulsification – The process by which two or more immiscible (unblendable) liquids are prepared. Examples of emulsions include butter, margarine, milk and viniagrettes.

Emulsifier - A substance added to products, such as meat spreads, to prevent separation of product components to ensure consistency. Examples of these types of additives include lecithin, and monoand diglycerides.

Encapsulation – a process where a continuous thin coating is formed around solid particles, liquid droplets, or gas cells that are fully contained within the capsule wall

Enrobing – the process by which food is coated or encased or sealed by something, for example, chocolate.

Enzymes – chemical substances that act as catalysts in chemical reactions.

EPA – Eicosapentaenoic acid; an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid important to brain and cardiac health (see omega-3, below). Ellagic acid – a polyphenolic acid found in berries, grapes and walnuts with high antioxidant capacity

Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) – EGCG is a natural polyphenolic compound and the most active component of green tea. It’s a natural antioxidant that helps prevent damage to healthy human cells and the vascular system.

Evaporation – the loss of molecules from a liquid or solution as vapor.

Evisceration – The removal of the viscera (internal organs, especially those in the abdominal cavity), also disembowlment.

Experimental Animal – Any animal used in any research investigation involving the feeding or other administration of, or subjection to, an experimental biological product, drug, or chemical or any nonexperimental biological product, drug, or chemical used in a manner for which it was not intended.

Extraction – the process of removing a substance or several substances from another substance

Extrusion – forcing a viscous solution through a spinneret-like machine (similar to a shower head).

Evisceration – removal of intestines and internal organs




Fabricated Steak – Fabricated beef steaks, veal steaks, beef and veal steaks, or veal and beef steaks, and similar products, shall be prepared by comminuting and forming the product from fresh and/or frozen meat, with or without added fat, of the species indicated on the label. Such products shall not contain more than 30 percent fat and shall not contain added water, binders or extenders.

Facultative anaerobe - can grow under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions

Farm-to-Table Continuum – A multi-step journey that food travels before it is consumed.

Fermentation – the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat

Fiber – any of a group of indigestible plant polysaccharides, including cellulose, lignin, pectins, beta-glucans, inulin and oligosaccharides. Fibers promote intestinal health by normalizing transit time, decreasing exposure of the gut wall to carcinogens, and promoting the growth of healthy bacteria

Filtration – the process of passing a liquid through a filter to remove any solid particles.

Flash Pasteurization – A pasteurization process which involves a high temperature, short-time treatment in which pourable products, such as juices, are heated for three to 15 seconds to a temperature that destroys harmful micro-organisms.

Flavonoids – the larger class of plant polyphenols, which includes such compounds as anthocyanins, flavanols, flavones, flavonols and isoflavones. They act as antioxidants and are believed to also contribute to genetic expression and cell-signal regulation, suggesting a second level of cancer protection.

Flow diagram – (sometimes referred to as flow charts) links the sequence of processing operations as a series of units.

Flow of food – The path food takes through food production from purchasing and receiving, through storing, preparing, cooking, holding, cooling, reheating, and serving.

Folate – a B vitamin also known as folic acid; helps prevent neural tube defects during fetal growth and development. Also helps prevent cardiovascular disease and is needed to build and repair DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells. Found in whole grains and nuts.

Food Additive – Any substance or mixture of substances other than the basic foodstuff present in a food as a result of any phase of production, processing, packaging, storage, transport or handling. USDA allows food additives in meat, poultry and egg products only after they have received Food and Drug Administration safety approval.

Foodborne Illness – Disease carried or transmitted to people by food.

Foodborne Outbreak – An incident in which two or more people experience the same illness after eating the same food confirmed by laboratory analysis.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – A public health agency in the U. S., charged with protecting consumers by enforcing public health laws. A major FDA mission is to protect the safety and wholesomeness of food – it tests samples, it sets food labeling standards, and it sees that medicated feeds and other drugs given to animals raised for food are not threatening to the consumer’s health.

Food irradiation – a high-energy ionising radiation process used to preserve foods.

Food processing - using food as a raw material and changing it in some way to make a food product.

Food retailing – businesses where the consumer can buy food products.

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) – The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.

Food Thermometer – A special device that measures the internal temperature of cooked foods, such as meat, poultry, and any combination dishes to ensure that a safe food temperature is reached.

Freezing point depression - a colligative property dependent upon the number of molecules present and is the degree to which the freezing point is lowered in respect to water – important in the processing of frozen desserts and frozen foods

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) – also known as oligofructose, FOS is a short-chain polysaccharide (oligosaccharide) used as a low-calorie sweetener. Also has been shown to be beneficial for gut health by promoting probiotic bacteria (see inulin, below). Also may help increase absorption of certain minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

Free Range or Free Roaming – Livestock or poultry has been allowed access to the outside.

Fully Cooked – Fully cooked product needs no further cooking. The product is fully cooked in the plant, and it can be reheated or eaten directly from the package. Also known as ready-to-eat.

Freeze dryer - frozen product is placed in a high vacuum environment and water is removed by sublimation

Frozen – Process by which food is preserved by freezing

Further Processing – Smoking, cooking, canning, curing, refining, or rendering in an official establishment of product previously prepared in official establishments.

Functional foods – foods that not only provide the expected nutrients, but also have a positive impact on health in either a curative or preventative manner.




Gelatin – Thickener from collagen which is derived from the skin, tendons, ligaments, or bones of livestock. It may be used in canned hams or jellied meat products, as well as non-food products such as photography and medicine.

Germination:  process which converts a spore into a vegetative state capable of reproducing

GFSI – Global Food Safety Initiative – The Global Food Safety Initiative is a business-driven initiative for the continuous improvement of food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide. GFSI provides a platform for collaboration between some of the world’s leading food safety experts from retailer, manufacturer and food service companies, service providers associated with the food supply chain, international organizations, academia and government

Giblets – Giblets are the heart, liver, and gizzard of a poultry carcass. Although often packaged with them, the neck of the bird is not a giblet. Giblets are not packaged with the original bird; however, they are inspected by FSIS inspectors.

Gizzard - The gizzard is the mechanical “stomach” of a bird. It is located just after the true or glandular stomach in the gastrointestinal system. Since poultry have no teeth and swallow feed whole, this muscular organ, sometimes called “hen’s teeth,” mechanically grinds and mixes the bird’s feed.

Glass transition temperature - is the temperature at which a food product changes from a rubbery state to a solid glassy state.

Gluten – a substance present in cereal grains, esp. wheat that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. A mixture of two proteins, it causes illness in people with celiac disease.

Gluten-free – foods that exclude gluten

GMP’s – Good Manufacturing Practice – Administered by the FDA under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) affects the manufacturers of foods, drugs, blood and medical devices, requiring a quality approach to manufacturing to minimize contamination or mix-ups.

Grade, Grading – The inspection and grading of meat and poultry are two separate programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Inspection for wholesomeness is mandatory and is paid for out of tax dollars. Grading for quality is voluntary, and the service is requested and paid for by meat and poultry producers/processors.

GRP’s – Good Retail Practices are the basic requirements to ensure production of wholesome food. They can include employee practices, buildings/facilities, equipment/utensils and production and process controls.




(HACCP) Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points - Developed by NASA in the 1960s to help protect astronauts, HACCP is a systematic, scientific based process system to identify, evaluate and manage food safety hazards in processing, packaging and transportation and helps identify ways to control or prevent them toensure food production is safe. It identifies many aspects of food safety including contaminations with non food stuffs, bacterial control and risk identification. HACCP has become an important tool globally for regulators, customers and recipients. Based on the audit and analysis, any required preventive

Halal and Zabiah Halal – Products prepared by federally inspected meat packing plants identified with references to “Halal” or “Zabiah Halal” must be handled according to Islamic law and under Islamic authority.

HDPE – high-density polyethylene.

Headcheese – A jellied product consisting predominantly of pork byproducts and seasoning ingredients. It must contain some product from the head.

Homogenize – the process in which the size of the fat globules is reduced to small uniform particles, which are then distributed evenly throughout the liquid. For example, the cream in homogenized milk is distributed throughout the liquid rather than rising to the top to form a layer.

Homogenizer – a high shear positive pump that forces fluid though a very small orifice at very high pressure to form or reduce the size of an emulsion. The positive pump uses pistons or rotary lobes.  The fluid forms the seal between the rotating parts

Honey Cured – Honey-cured may be shown on the labeling of a cured product if honey is the only sweetening ingredient or is at least half the sweetening ingredients used, and if the honey is used in an amount sufficient to flavor and/or affect the appearance of the finished product.

Heat sealing – a method of sealing plastic containers by heating two adjoining layers or portions of the container until they melt together thereby forming a good seal.

Hermetic – the sealing of a package that forms a closure that is absolutely impervious to micro-organisms, gas, water molecules and dust.

High Acid – Foods that contain enough acid to have a pH of 4.6 or lower.

Hot Fill –

HTST – high temperature/short-time processing. A process by which food is sterilised at very high temperatures but only for a very short period.

Humectant – A substance added to foods to help retain moisture and soft texture. An example is glycerine, which may be used in dried meat snacks.

Hydraulic Cooker - a continuous sterilizer, where the cans are rotating during the sterilization process

Hydrolyzed (Source) Protein – Flavor enhancers that can be used in meat and poultry products. They are made from protein obtained from a plant source such as soy or wheat, or from an animal source, such as milk.




Impervious – forms an impassable barrier.

Incidental Additives – As defined in the Food and Drug Administration regulations, incidental additives are substances present in foods at insignificant levels that do not serve a technical or functional effect in that food.

Industrialization – use of mechanization and automation technology.

Inedible - Adulterated, uninspected, or not intended for use as human food.

Inhumane Slaughter – Slaughter of livestock that is not in accordance with the Humane Methods of  Slaughter Act of 1978 and FSIS regulations promulgated to enforce the Act, characterized by inadequate methods to prevent pain and suffering of animals presented for slaughter.

Internal Temperature – The temperature of the internal portion of a food product.

Irradiation – The process where foods, such as poultry, red meat, spices, and fruits and vegetables, are subjected to small amounts of radiant energy including gamma rays, electron beams, and x-rays in amounts approved by the Food and Drug Administration. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service oversees the irradiation of meat and poultry.

Inulin – a soluble, short-chain fiber that has been shown to help limit hunger and energy intake by fermenting in the colon, helping to modulate the release of hormones that influence appetite, and promotes probiotic bacteria.

Iodophor - a complex of iodine and an anionic surfactant to provide a sanitizer that is second in effectiveness to chlorine

ISO 9000 - Certification procedure for TQM, monitored by an agency outside of the organization being certified

ISO 22000 – The ISO 22000 standard – Food Safety Management Systems – integrates the HACCP principles, system management and interactive communication between organizations in the food supply chain. ISO 22000 specifies the requirements needed for food safety management for each organization in the food chain to ensure the final food is safe for human consumption.

Isoflavones – flavonoid phytochemical compounds, also classed as phytoestrogens (see below) such as daidzein and genestein, found in soy. Highly studied for possible effectiveness against certain cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis. Involved in gene expression and cholesterol management and possibly cognitive function.






Kill Step – The cooking step used to kill microorganisms in food.

Kosher - Kosher may be used only on the labels of meat and poultry products prepared under Rabbinical supervision.




Laminate – to combine two or more layers of material to form packaging. The layers are held together by an adhesive or heat bonding.

Lard – Lard is the fat rendered from clean and sound edible tissues from swine.

Lignan – an antioxidant phytoestrogen found in high amounts in flax seed and other seeds. Converted in the gut to estrogenlike compounds enterodiol and enterolactone by intestinal bacteria.

Lipids - fats or oils, contain water insoluble components

Lipid Oxidation - reaction of unsaturated fat with oxygen to produce undesirable flavors

Lutein – an antioxidant and anti-cataract carotenoid found in eggs, dark leafy greens and red and orange fruits, vegetables and plants. Critical to eye health.

Lycopene – carotenoid antioxidant found in tomatoes, watermelon and other red vegetables. Known primarily for cancer-protective effects, especially prostate cancer, but also may help regulate blood pressure, reduce risk and effects of emphysema.




Macerate – To soften or break into pieces with liquid.

MAP(Modified atmosphere packaging) is the term used for methods that will help to maintain the quality of a food product by changing the atmosphere inside its retail package. For example, reduce the availability of oxygen or manipulate the levels of carbon dioxide. It produces a gas mix to maximise shelf life.

Marinate - To steep food in a marinade.

Marinade – A savory acidic sauce in which a food is soaked to enrich its flavor or to tenderize it. Marinade consists of a cooking oil, an acid (vinegar, lemon juice, wine), and spices. As the food stands in the mixture, the acid and the oil impart the savory flavors of the spices to the food. The acid also has a tenderizing action.

MDM - Mechanically deboned meat.

Meat – The flesh of animals used as food including the dressed flesh of cattle, swine, sheep, or goats and other edible animals, except fish, poultry, and wild game animals.

Meat Base – A granular, paste-like product which is shelf-stable primarily because of its high salt content  (30-40%). Beef or pork based is 15% beef or pork, or 10.5% cooked beef or pork. Ham based is 18% ham.

Meat Broker – Any person engaged in the business of buying or selling carcasses, parts of carcasses, meat or meat food products of livestock on commission, or otherwise negotiating purchases or sales of such articles other than for his/her own account or as an employee of another person.

Meat Byproduct – Any part capable of use as human food, other than meat, which has been derived from one or more cattle, sheep, swine, or goats.

Mechanically Separated Meat or Poultry – Mechanically separated meat or poultry is a paste-like and batter-like product produced by forcing the bones and attached edible tissue through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat or poultry tissue. This product is intended for use in the formulation of other products. During this process, it is possible for bones to be crushed or pulverized, resulting in a limited amount of bone particles. Because it may contain some bone particles, any product that has been produced using the mechanical separation process must be labeled appropriately as “mechanically separated”.

Mesophile - an organism that grows at temperatures between 15-40 F

Mesophilic - adjective for mesophile

Metrics – a method of measuring something

Microaerophilic - grows at reduced levels of oxygen – example is the growth lactobacilli in cheese

Microfiltration (MF) - a membrane process similar to UF, but with larger pores in the membrane than for UF – used to remove bacteria from fluids such as milk

Micro-organisms – organisms which are very small, usually containing only one cell and which cannot be seen by the human

Migration – Transfer of a component of a packaging material into the product contained, or loss of a component of the product into the packaging material.

Milling – The act or process of grinding, especially grinding grain into flour or meal

Mini tab – is a statistics package often used in conjunction with the implementation of Six sigma, CMMI and other statistics-based process improvement methods

Mixing – Process of combining, or putting together, multiple substances to create one substance

Mallard browning - reaction of reducing sugars with amino groups to form brown colors.  Also produces a wide range of flavorful compounds that can have positive or negative effects on flavor acceptance.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) – Packaging method in which a combination of gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen is introduced into the package at the time of closure. The purpose is to extend shelf life of the product packaged.

Modified Food Starch – Starch that has been chemically altered to improve its thickening properties. Before the starch is modified, it is separated from the protein through isolation techniques; therefore, the source of the starch used is not required on the label.

Molds – a group of multi-cellular fungi which grow in thread-like strands called hyphae. Molds’ can grow on foods and damage them but some are introduced into foods to give added flavor, e.g. in some cheeses.

Multiple effect evaporators - 2 or more evaporators placed in series to provide a means for the continuous concentration of a fluid product.

MSG – ?




Natural - A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color that is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural. The label must explain the use of the term natural (such as no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed.)

National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) – The NSF is a US based, not-for-profit, non governmental organization that provides standards development, product registrations, product certifications and riskmanagement services for public health and safety. It identifies the needs of the public and industry to generate and manage a list of Proprietary Substances and Non Food Compounds (which lubricants are included).

Netting (plastic) – Continuous extruded net of flexible plastic material, most commonly polyethylene, which can be made into bags, sleeves or wraps (example: net over a frozen turkey package).

Newtonian - term used to describe the viscous behavior of a fluid – where the viscosity is independent of  both time and shear stress

NFDM - not fat dry milk

NHMRC – National Health and Medical Research Council

Niche – a small and specialized market

Non-enzymatic browning - chemical reaction (not catalyzed by enzymes) that produces a brown color in food – Maillard browning is an example

Non-GMO -

Non-Newtonian - describes a fluid where the viscosity changes as a function of either shear stress or time

No Roll – The term “No Roll” is permitted on marking devices and labels for single ingredient red meats (carcasses, primal and retail cuts) provided the term is not accompanied with an official grade name (e.g., “No Roll Choice”).

Nutraceutical – a chemical compound, natural or synthesized, that is a part of a food or added to a food in order to provide health benefit or help prevent or treatment a disease or physical condition

Nutrition Labeling – Identification of the nutritional components of a food product, required on most foods regulated by the FDA




Official Mark – The official inspection legend or any other symbol prescribed by FSIS regulations to identify the status of any article or animal under the Federal Meat Inspection Act.

Omega fatty acids – any of several classes of unsaturated fatty acids (i.e., omega-6, and omega-3) including the essential fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3).

Organic – The term organic frequently is used to distinguish “natural” products or processes from manmade “synthetic” ones. Thus natural fertilizers include manures or rock phosphate, as opposed to fertilizers synthesized from chemical feedstocks. Likewise, in organic farming pests are controlled by cultivation techniques and the use of pesticides derived from natural sources (e.g., rotenone and pyrethrins both from plants) and the use of natural fertilizers (e.g., manure and compost).

Organic Certificationcertification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants.

Organic Farming – An approach to farming based on biological methods that avoid the use of synthetic crop or livestock production inputs; also a broadly defined philosophical approach to farming that puts value on ecological harmony, resource efficiency, and non-intensive animal husbandry practices. Farmers who wish to have their operations certified as organic so that they can label their products as organically produced currently follow standards and submit to inspection by private or state certification organizations.

Organic Foods – Food products produced by organic farming practices and handled or processed under organic handling and manufacturing processes as defined by several private and state organic certifying agencies.




Palatability – pleasant to taste, being acceptable

Partially Defatted (Beef or Pork) Fatty Tissue – These are byproducts produced from fatty trimmings containing less than 12% lean meat. These ingredients may be used in meat products in which byproducts are acceptable.

Pasteurization – The process of destroying microorganisms that could disease. This is usually done by applying heat to food. Three processes used to pasteurize foods are flash pasteurization, steam pasteurization, and irradiation pasteurization. HTST (high temperature short time): – used to define a continuous method of pasteurization, which for milk is 161.5°F for 15 seconds.  Times and temperatures for other products varies as a function of their viscosity. UHT (ultra-high temperature):  used to define a very short time pasteurization or sterilization process when the temperature exceeds 190°F.

Pathogenic – harmful to the human body.

Peptizing - hydrolysis of the peptide bond

Performance Based Inspection System (PBIS) – A computer-based system used by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The system organizes inspection requirements, schedules inspection activities, and maintains records of findings for meat and poultry processing operations under federal inspection.

Perishable – Food that is subject to decay, spoilage, or bacteria unless it is properly refrigerated or frozen.

Pest Control -the regulation or management of a species defined as a pest, usually because it is perceived to be detrimental to a person’s health, the ecology or the economy.

Pesticide – A substance used to kill, control, repel, or mitigate any pest. Insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, herbicides, and germicides are all pesticides, and must be registered with the EPA.

PET – polyethylene terephthalate, a light-weight clear plastic with acceptable barrier properties to gas and water vapor.

PFF – Protein Fat Free.

Phytochemical – although literally “plant chemical,” usually refers to any compound from a plant source that may be efficacious to health. Used interchangeably with “phytonutrient.” About 10,000 have been identified to date, and perhaps as many more remain unidentified.

Phytoestrogen – also called “plant estrogens,” these phytochemicals show mild estrogenlike ability. Soybeans are a major source of these highly studied compounds. They may help regulate cholesterol and reduce the risk of some cancers. They might help maintain bone density post-menopause and could be mildly helpful at reducing menopausal symptoms.

Phytosterol – also called plant sterols, phytosterols are steroid alcohols naturally occurring in plants. In addition to antioxidant capacity, they have shown strong ability to help reduce serum cholesterol and protect against cardiovascular disease.

Plasticizer – Material added during the manufacturing process to increase flexibility; for example, the plasticizer ATBC (acetyl tributyl citrate), used in plastic wraps, is made from citric acid which is commonly present in citrus fruit.

Plate heat exchanger - A heat exchanger constructed of plates so that the heating medium and  product are located on opposite sides of the same plate and flow in counter-current.

Positive pump - Consists of a reciprocating or rotating cavity between two lobes or gears and a rotor.  Fluid enters by gravity or a difference in pressure and the fluid forms the seals between the rotating parts.  The rotating move of the rotor produces the pressure to cause the fluid to flow.

Postmortem Inspection – As used in the meat and poultry inspection program, the phrase refers to the inspection that Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors are required to conduct of all animal carcasses immediately after they are killed.

Potentially Hazardous Food – Food in which microorganisms can grow rapidly

Polydextrose – a fiber made up of dextrose, sorbitol and citric acid. A lower-calorie sweetener, polydextrose acts as a prebiotic fiber to promote gut health.

Polyphenol – antioxidant flavonols which have been shown to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and the onset of Alzheimer’s. Found in high levels in grape seeds and skins, as well as in black currants, pomegranates, yerba maté, green tea, dark chocolate, red wine and virgin olive oil.

Prebiotic – compounds that can promote the growth of healthful bacteria in the digestive tract, especially the colon.

Prepared – Slaughtered, canned, salted, rendered, boned, cut up, or otherwise manufactured or processed.

Preservation – A variety of methods used at the processing stage and at home to keep food safe from harmful bacteria and extend the storage life of food.

Probiotic – any of a number of beneficial bacteria or yeast, such as lactic acid bacteria. They convert carbohydrates (such as the milk sugar lactose) into lactic acid, aiding digestion and lowering gastrointestinal pH. See “yogurt cultures.”

Processing – Refers to the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into food or to transform food into other forms for consumption by humans or animals. Food processing typically takes harvested crops or butchered animal products and uses these to produce marketable food products.

Product – Any carcass, meat, meat by-product, or meat food product, capable of use as human food.

Psychrophilic – likes to grow under refrigeration conditions

Psychotropic - grows slowly under refrigerated conditions, but prefers to grow under mesophilic conditions




Quality control (QC) - Establishment of acceptable standards for a product with standards enforced after production

Quercitin – a highly bioactive and antioxidant flavonoid compound in tea and grapes (especially red wine), apples and cranberries. Acts as the base for number of other flavonoids. Shows strong anti-inflammatory activity and inhibits the manufacture and release of histamines.




Rancid/Rancidity – Oxidation/breakdown of fat that occurs naturally, causing undesirable smell and taste.

Ratites – A family of large flightless birds that include ostriches, emus, and rheas, which U.S. farmers are beginning to domesticate and raise for food.

Ready-to-Eat – Food that is in a form that is edible without washing, cooking, or additional preparation by the food establishment or consumer and that is reasonably expected to be consumed in that form.

Recall – Recalls are voluntary actions carried out by a food manufacturer or distributor in cooperation with Federal and State agencies. Products are recalled when found to be contaminated, adulterated, or misbranded. Recalls fall under three classifications depending upon the severity of the potential hazard.

Refrigeration – the process of cooling or freezing (e.g., food) for preservative purposes

Renderer - A business engaged in the separation of fats from animal tissue by heating.

Reduced Oxygen Packaging – Food in a package with less oxygen than normal.

Residue - Any substance, including metabolites, remaining in livestock at time of slaughter or in carcass tissues after slaughter as the result of treatment or exposure of the livestock to a pesticide, organic or inorganic compound, hormone, hormone like substance, growth promoter, antibiotic, anthelmintic, tranquilizer, or other therapeutic or prophylactic agent.

Resistant starch – starch, such as high amylose corn, that resists digestion in the small intestine while helping to form butyrate and encourage healthful flora in the large intestine. Has proven valuable in weight management and cancer prevention.

Resveratrol – a polyphenolic compound found in grape seeds and skins; studied for its antioxidant and anticancer effects.

Retort – To sterilize food after it is sealed in a container by steam, or other heating methods.

Reverse osmosis (RO) - a membrane process than removes very small molecules, such as water – used to concentrate fluids as an alternative to evaporation





Sanitizer – Chemical compound used to reduce the number of disease causing organisms on a clean surface to safe level.

Sanitizing – The reduction of the numbers of microorganisms to safe levels on food contact surfaces. Sanitizers are only effective on clean surfaces.

Saponification - chemical hydrolysis of glycerides by the action of heat and sodium hydroxide

Scavengers – materials that remove gases from packaging including oxygen scavengers, ethylene scavengers, carbon dioxide scavengers and water vapor absorbents.

Seasoned – having had salt, pepper, herbs, or spices added

Sectioned and Formed (or Chunked and Formed) – A boneless ham that is made from different cuts, tumbled or massaged and reassembled into a casing or mold and fully cooked. During this process it is usually thoroughly defatted.

Selenium – a mineral unique in having antioxidant properties; found in nuts and whole grains. Sterol – see “phytosterol,” above.

Sequestration - conversion of insoluble salts (Ca/Mg) into soluble complexes through the addition of inorganic sequestrants – such as phosphates.

Servsafe – a food and beverage safety training and certificate program administered by the National Restaurant Association.

Shelf life – Recommended period of time food may be stored for best quality and safety.

Shelf Stable – able to survive long periods on store or home shelves without spoiling

Shrink Wrapping – Plastic film that shrinks when heated, producing a tight, neat fit; the most popular form of grocery store meat packaging is PVC wrapping with foam trays.

Smoked – cure or preserve (meat or fish) by exposure to smoke.

Smoke Flavoring – After curing, some hams are smoked. Smoke flavoring is a process by which ham is hung in a smokehouse and allowed to absorb smoke from smoldering fires. This gives added flavor and color to meat and slows the development of rancidity.

SNF – solids not fat in dairy products

Sodium Nitrite – Used alone or in conjunction with sodium nitrate as a color fixative in cured meat and poultry products (bologna, hot dogs, bacon).

Sous vid – a process in which food is prepared, vacuum packed, cooked to pasteurize (sterilize) the food and chilled. These foods can be refrigerated for up to sixty days.

Spore – a heat resistant, dormant body capable of germinating to produce vegetative cells

Spore former - bacteria capable of forming spores

Sporulation – the act of forming spores

Spray Drying – A process that dries food by spraying particles of it into a current of hot air, the water in the particles being rapidly evaporated.

SQF Practionery

SS (serum solids) – generally used in ice cream formulation calculations; the solids in milk that are not fat

SSOPs – Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures are a set of specific tasks that include the purpose, frequency, responsible person, and instructions for doing the job. SSOPs include cleaning, sanitizing, pest control, etc.

Stabilizers – substances which allow food compounds which do not mix well to be mixed and stay in a homogeneous state.

Steam Pasteurization – A technology that uses heat to control or reduce harmful microorganisms in beef. This system passes freshly slaughtered beef carcasses that are already inspected, washed, and trimmed, through a chamber that exposes the beef to pressurized steam. The carcasses are then cooled with a cold water spray. This is a proven process for reducing pathogenic bacteria without the use of any chemicals.

Sterilization – a process in which foods are treated to kill all forms of micro-organisms and spores. Foods can be sterilized with high temperature treatment or with ionizing radiation.

Still Retort - A type of batch sterilizer used for canning food, where the cans are not in motion during the sterilization process

Stock Recovery – A firm’s removal or correction of product that has not been marketed or that has not left the direct control of the firm. For example, product is located on premises owned by, or under the control of, the firm, and no portion of the lot has been released for sale or use.

Sublimation – to change, when heated, from a solid state to a vapor without going through the liquid state.

Sugar Cured – A term that may appear on ham labels if cane or beet sugar is at least half the sweetening ingredients used and if the sugar is used in an amount sufficient to flavor and/or affect the appearance of the finished product. Most hams contain sugar in the curing mixture.

Surfactants - a compound that reduces the surface tension of water

Susceptors – are strips of material, usually metallized polyester film/paper laminate, attached inside a microwave package to concentrate heating over the foods that need to be browned. A de-metallizing process applied to the laminate is able to remove different amounts of the metal to ensure even cooking for different components or for different areas of a product




Tallow – The white nearly tasteless solid rendered fat of cattle and sheep used chiefly in soap, candles, and lubricants.

Tamper evidence – devices attached to food packages that indicate if a package has been opened or not.

Thermal Processing

Thermophylic - an organism that required high temperature for growth (usually > 45 C)

Thermoduric - Survive high heat treatment, but does not grow under such conditions – generally a spore-forming organism.

Tocopherol – a natural form of vitamin E with strong antioxidant capacity. Found in nuts, whole grains and other plant sources, tocopherols are critical to cellular health and protect against cardiovascular disease and other diseases.

Tocotrienol – an isomer of vitamin E found in palm oil and other plant sources which has strong antioxidant capacity.

Total Quality Implementation (TQI) - TQM + ISO 9000 (registration verification system for TQI

Total quality management (TQM) - Management system that gets all of the employees involved with QA, with the goal of producing  Zero defect products.

Toxins – Poisons that are produced by some bacteria, carried by fish, or released by plants.

Tubular heat exchanger - Two or more tubes are placed inside of each other, so that the heating media and product are flowing in opposite directions.




USDAU.S. Department of Agriculture – The department of the Federal government responsible for 1) ensuring a safe, affordable, nutritious and accessible food supply; 2) caring for agricultural, forests, and range lands; 3) supporting sound development of rural communities; 4) providing economic opportunities for farm and rural residents; 5) expanding global markets for agricultural and forest products and services; and 6) working to reduce hunger in America and throughout the world.

UHT – ultra-high temperature.

Ultrafiltration (UF) - a membrane process which separates on the basis of size – used to concentrate proteins from small molecular weight soluble compounds

Unit Process - A combination of unit operations, generally encompassed in the single piece of equipment, to achieve a specific objective in food processing; examples:  Spray drying – combination of fluid flow, heat transfer and mass transfer; Pasteurization – combination of fluid, flow and heat transfer; Evaporation – combination of fluid flow, heat transfer and mass transfer




Vacuum Packaging – Rigid or flexible containers from which substantially all air has been removed before sealing. Carbon dioxide or nitrogen may be introduced into the container. This process prolongs shelf life, preserves the flavors and retards bacterial growth.

Value-added – the processing of products so that their selling price is higher than that of the raw materials from which they were made.

Value Stream Mapping – lean manufacturing technique used to analyze and design the flow of materials and information required to bring a product or service to a consumer

Virus – Smallest and simplest life-form known. Viruses need a living host to reproduce and do not reproduce in food. Some survive freezing and cooking temperatures. Viruses come from humans who contaminate food through poor hand washing and improper personal hygiene.

Viscus (Plural, viscera) – An internal organ of a human or animal.




Water activity – an expression of the free water content of a food and expressed as the relative humidity of the product – important in defining chemical changes in food and in determining the ability of microorganisms to grow in food

Wetting – reducing the surface tension of the surface of soil to improve cleaning efficiency

WPC - whey protein concentrate (whey protein content >34%)

WPI - whey protein isolate (whey protein content > 90%




Xanthine – an isomer of caffeine found in plants such as yerbamaté; although it has a stimulating effect it is reported to trigger fewer enervating side effects than caffeine and be less irritating to the digestive system.




Yeasts – single-celled fungi which reproduces by budding.

Yogurt cultures – live, active microbes, specifically lactobacteria, that help foster a healthy colon, help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of colon cancer. Include Lactobacillus bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, L. acidophilus and L. bifidus and L. reuteri.

Zeaxanthine – an antioxidant and anti-cataract carotenoid found in eggs, dark leafy greens and red and orange fruits, vegetables and plants. Critical to eye health. Z-value:  the temperature required to reduce the D value by one log cycle