Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Well, I've been working on my Sanitization and Safety course (#5 of 6) and I'm really enjoying it so far.  The following post may or may not appeal to some of you, but I need to talk it out, so you might as well come along for the ride :)  I've come across a bit of a... how can I say...lack of understanding on a subject.  Before I get to that, I'll review a few things I've learned (or re-learned from forgetting) that I'd like to share.

PHF (Potentially Hazardous Foods) are any foods that are capable of supporting the rapid growth of (infectious and toxic) bacteria.  PHF's are foods high in protein or carbohydrates, have a pH above 4.6 and a water activity above 0.85.  The requirements for said bacteria growth is from 6 conditions - FATTOM*.

Food (high in protein or carbohydrates)
Acidity (pH 4.6 to 7.0)
Time (4 hours)
Temperature (4°C-60°C)
Oxygen (though some can even survive without)
Moisture (water activity higher than 0.85)

What I'm having a problem understanding is bacteria and spores.  It says all bacteria exist in a vegetative state, but the text defines vegetative state as, "the active state of a bacterium in which the cells take in nourishment, grows and produces waste".  That, to me, defies "vegetative".  If something is vegetative, it doesn't do anything, especially to which being active and producing waste.  Mental block #1.  Next fact; some bacteria have the ability to produce spores (which help bacteria survive in stressful environments), but spores are *not* active.  They are though, resistant to stress and can be harmful if eaten (and can live for months on a subject).  So I'm trying to wrap my head around inactive bacteria that's actually active and spores that are inactive but promote...activity.  AARGH!!

*To help with understanding, in case it all seems Greek, examples of each are as follows... 
Protein and carbs are self-explanatory, but if you need me to expand, tell me.
Acidity - pH ranges from 0-14, 7 being neutral (distilled water). Under 7 is acidic (i.e chicken, milk, soupls, pickles, mayo), over is alkaline (soda crackers, egg whites).
Temperature - foods should be held outside of above stated temps.
Time -  4 hours is a danger zone; food shouldn't be held in unstable temps longer than this, though some texts state even 2 hrs).  We observe 1-1.5 hrs at the hospital.
Moisture - water activity (symbol: Aw) is rated from 0-1.0.  0.85-1.0: dairy, poultry, meats, shellfish, melons, steamed rice. 0-0.85: dry pasta, flour, uncut fruits and veggies, jams & jellies, frozen food.


Mikala said...

Si, ya me di cuenta a que te referias. Los hombres parecen estar hechos con el mismo molde jajajaj, creo que era eso lo que me querias decr que todos parecen ser iguales...
pero creo que las mujeres no deberíamos creer eso... ya que ellos también lo creen de nosotras. En algún lugar estoy segura que esta el hombre casi perfecto para una.
Siempre hay alguien esperandonos, el mundo es grande.

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

The vegetative thing I do have big troubles understanding :-) :-) But the thing with spores I guess You could see as a protective surface, like if You have a sun block on Your skin. It doesnt do anything but still protects against harmful sun light. But it sure sounds strange :-)
Have a great day now!

Perovskia said...

Christer - That's a very good analogy! I'll keep that in mind when I'm reading. Thank you :)

Mikala said...

this is very funny because I translate your text, read it, and I do not understand that talk, that bacteria, moisture, jams, hahaha, it's all very strange for me jajajaj
I'm glad to be a source of inspiration for you!
I am very happy to talk with someone who is from Canada, I love your country, I would like to travel someday, I want to see the northern lights, is that your countries are so ... ire one day!

Perovskia said...

Mikala - lol.. well, I tried interpreting the words separately and came up with this..
moisture - humedad
bacteria - bacterias or germenes
jam - mermelada de fresa
How's that? :)

Ahh.. the Northern Lights are so beautiful. I've just seen them once.


Mikala said...

I meant: IRE go.
That means ire ..
Someday I'll have the chance to see these lights, is a dream so big!
would see beautiful ...
is true there were separate and globalization brought us together.
We could be friends, I would like to write to me! @ camilaburgueo@yahoo.com.ar

maybe when you have employment and be more able to go to canada and maybe visit you ...
In Argentina these guest!

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