Food Glossary to Guide you
Use this Food Glossary to define and demystify common Food Industry and Food Science Terms.
Have you ever wondered what is an emulsifier? Or perishable versus non-perishable food? You can come to this page as a reference to find answers to questions like these.
If something is missing, just ask.
A – E
Emulsifier – a substance that stabilizes an emulsion, in particular a food additive used to stabilize processed foods. Emulsifiers keep two components that normally do not mix well together from separating.
Emulsion – a fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible. Examples include: ice cream is an oil and air in water emulsion, milk is an oil in water emulsion, salad dressing and mayonnaise are oil in water emulsions.
E – J
FDA – Federal Food and Drug Administration, referenced as the FDA.
Food additive – in simple terms any substance added to food. Legally per the FDA, “any substance the intended use of which results or may reasonably be expected to result — directly or indirectly — in its becoming a component or otherwise affecting the characteristics of any food.” The FDA’s definition includes anything added or used in from harvest to fork. This includes production, processing, treatment, packaging, transportation and/or storage of food.
Food Hazard – anything with the potential to cause negative health consequences to you. The 4 main typs are chemical, physical, microbial and allergens.
Food Packaging – packaging for food. Food packaging is used to protect the food from farm to fork.
Food Poisoning – same as Foodborne Illness
Food Safety – the process and practices used to prevent you from getting food-borne illness.
Food Spoilage – changes that happens to food that causes it unfit to eat. These undesirable changes can happen to the color, taste, texture and/or smell of normal food. When consumed, the spoiled food may or may not be harmful to you.
Food Science – Food science is the study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food; the causes of food deterioration; and the concepts underlying food processing. This definition is per IFT.
Foodborne Illness – sickness caused by eating contaminated foods.
K – Z
Non-perishable food – Any processed food not subject to rapid decay or deterioration that would render it unfit for consumption. Examples are flour, sugar, cereals, packaged cookies and crackers. This is an FDA definition and also knowns as nonperishable processed food.
Nutrition – the branch of science that deals with nutrients and nutrition, particularly in humans. Nutrition is a subdiscipline of Food Science.
Minimally Processed – “Minimal processing may include: (a) those traditional processes used to make food edible or to preserve it or to make it safe for human consumption, e.g., smoking, roasting, freezing, drying, and fermenting, or (b) those physical processes which do not fundamentally alter the raw product and/or which only separate a whole, intact food into component parts, e.g., grinding meat, separating eggs into albumen and yolk, and pressing fruits to produce juices. Relatively severe processes, e.g., solvent extraction, acid hydrolysis, and chemical bleaching would clearly be considered more than minimal processing.” This is the USDA’s definition.
Perishable food – FDA defines perishable food as food that is not heat-treated, not frozen, and not otherwise preserved in a manner to prevent the quality of the food from being adversely affected, if held longer than seven (7) calendar days under normal shipping and storage conditions. Examples include: milk, berries and raw meat.
Recall – when a food producer takes a product off the market because it has been deemed as unsafe. Recalls may be volunteer or mandatory depending on the situation.
Unsafe food – unsafe food is food that you sick after you eat it. Food can make you sick from a variety of ways, including microbes, physical contaminants, environmental toxins, harmful additives and the presence of allergens.
USDA – United STates Department of Agriculture. Typically referenced as USDA.