p H scale
Coliform Plate Culture
In order to ensure the safety of our foods, there are some agencies that are set up by the government to oversee the preparation, handling, and packaging of foods locally and overseas. The local agencies are The US Department of Agriculture, The US Department of Health and The US Food and Drugs Administration
The US Department of Agriculture has authorized certain agencies to approve Schedule processes that are to be used by companies involved in processing of foods for the public. These schedule processes stipulate some specifications that must be maintained in order that the food safety is guaranteed. Foods are classified as low acid and acid foods. Any food with a p H of less than 4.5 is considered acid foods and any food with a p H of more than 4.5 is considered low acid food.Low acid foods require much more elaborate processing in order to guarantee food safety than acid foods. Clostridium botulinum is a bacterium that produces one of the most deadly toxin known to man when it grows in food at a p H above 4.5. This organism along with others such as Staphylococcus areus, Salmonella spp, E coli that are all capable of causing food poisoning incapable of growing below pH 4.5.Some foods with a p H above 4.5 can be acidified so that the processing requirements be lessened. Water activity (Aw) is another specification that is used to guarantee food safety. No food poisoning organism can grow at an Aw of.7 or below
The schedule process for each food product is only approved by the appropriate agency after all of the required safety precautions have been met and each batch of finished product is tested for microbial content, extraneous matter,p H (if product is an acid food), Aw(if product is semisolid). The microbial content of foods are evaluated for total plate count, Coliform count, mesophylic Bacilli, and Salmonella. The presence of E coli bacteria in the food is an indication of fecal contaminationof the food product.
Each food product is assigned a shelf life for safety. The shelf life of a food product is determined by testing the food for wholesomeness for an extenden period of time.
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