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Basic Safty for Food Preservation

1.      Why does food spoil?

Food spoils because of microorganisms, enzymes, and chemicals that effect changes in the food item. Think about how apples oxidize if you don’t put them into lemon water. The microorganisms that can cause the most problems are molds and bacteria, but yeast can also be part of food spoiling as well.

2.      What causes food to spoil

  • Molds– Grows on foods in visible colonies
  • Yeasts- Grows on food, microscopic
  • EnzymesCause chemical reactions that grows in foods and cause them to spoil
  • Chemicals- react with each other or with outside causes such as air, and can consume, alter, or produce chemicals causing spoilage

       3.      What is the fuzzy mass often found on jams and jellies?

This would be an example of mold

4.      What is the difference between food spoilage and food borne illness

Food Spoilage is a change in the food like when a banana starts to turn brown. Food Born Illness when food that has Enzymes or molds already growing on them is consumed making the person sick. Think Salmonella from chicken.

5.      The majority of food borne illnesses are caused by what?

Microorganisms are the main cause of food borne illnesses.

6.      Can food with no visible signs of spoilage make you sick?

Yes, just like the example of salmonella from chicken, can contaminate foods with no outward sign of spoilage.

7.      When dealing with canning/preserving which “microorganism” is the greatest concern?

Clostridium Botulinim

8.      Why?

This microorganism finds the conditions in a caned or preserved food with a low acid level perfect for breading its spores. That is why anything that has a low acid canning or preserved food must be done in a pressure canner so that it reaches temperatures of 240F so that the spores will die.

9.      In what two ways does the canning process preserve?

The higher temperatures and driving out the oxygen through vacuum sealing create a food safe environment that should be safe for keeping on the shelf.

10.  What is the difference between canning and pressure canning?

Canning is done in boiling water and occurs at 212F until a vacuum is formed and is normally done for high acid items like pickles. Pressure canning is done at a minimum temperature of 240F and is done with low acid foods like jams and jelly.

11.  Why is fermentation different from other preservation methods?

It uses yeast microorganisms to “eat” part of the items present to convert it into something else, think making beer. When these microorganisms are encouraged to grow it also causes some harmful microorganisms to not grow.

12.  How does pickling preserve?

Through the use of organic acids like vinegar or fermentation to produce an organic acid.

13.  Why are jams and jellies preserved foods?

Most Jams and jellies are cooked during the canning process to take out as much water. Sugar also helps reduce the amount of water available in an ingredient, and have a low ph or acid level.

14.  Food preservation relies on controlling what factors?

       15.  Why do corn and green beans have to be processed in a pressure canner?

Both corn and green beans have a lower acid level then is safe and could allow the growth of Clostridium Botulinim. Because of this they need to canned in a pressure canner so that it can reach higher temperatures that will kill its spores.

16.  Explain water availability (Aw)

Water Availability is the measurement of the amount of water available for some chemical and enzymatic reactions. When water interacts with solutes like salt or sugar, it is unavailable for these reactions. When the available water is reduced to a certain point bacterial growth will be inhibited, take it past this point and add yeast and the growth of mold will also be inhibited.

17.  What is the goal of food preservation?

To achieve a food free of spoilage and illness-causing microorganisms, by controlling or inhibiting the activity of microorganisms, enzymes and chemical reactions.

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