Articles in category Glossary
(the) Act

‘The Act’ refers to the Victorian Food Act 1984.


Alcohol by volume.

Acid food

Food that is below pH 4.6.

Acidic food

Food that is below pH 7.0.


The term ‘alcohol’ is a reference to ethyl alcohol or ethanol.

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code)

The collection of bi-national standards designed to promote national consistency in Australia’s and New Zealand’s food laws. It lists requirements for food businesses in relation to food safety practices, general requirements and food premises set up and equipment. It also outlines the requirements for foods such as additives, labelling and genetically modified foods.


Commonly known as germs, bacteria are microorganisms found in and on food, people, surfaces, untreated water, dirt, soil, plants, animals and pests.

Brewed soft drink

(a) The product is prepared by a fermentation process from water with sugar and one or more of:

(i) fruit extractives or infusions; or

(ii) vegetable extractives or infusions; and

(b) contains no more than 1.15% alcohol by volume. 

Some examples of brewed soft drinks are ginger beer, kombucha, and kefir.


Ensures that the accuracy of readings given by a measuring instrument, such as a probe thermometer, is consistent with a known standard. See Support program 5: Thermometer use, calibration and equipment maintenance.

Certificates of analysis (COA)

Documented test results from an accredited laboratory.

Class 2 premises

Premises that handle high-risk foods that need correct temperature control at all times – including cooking and storage – to keep them safe.


(Adjective) Free from visible matter, such as food waste, dust, dirt, grease and other contamination and free from objectionable odour.

(Verb) The action of making equipment, utensils, crockery and so on in a condition free from visible matter and odours.

Cleaning schedule

A schedule or list of the cleaning arrangements. It sets out the activities carried out throughout the premises and in relation to equipment, including how often cleaning is to be done and how it is to be carried out (for example, chemicals and equipment required). If your business transports food, it would also include the cleaning of transport containers and vehicles.

Community group

An organisation or group that sells food solely for the purposes of raising funds for charity, or which is a not-for-profit body.

Contact time

Some chemical cleaning solutions must be in contact with a surface or equipment for a certain amount of time to work effectively, remove dirt or kill bacteria. Check with your chemical supplier.


Biological, chemical or physical matter that may lead to a food safety risk (for example, physical matter such as glass in food) or an allergen.


The introduction or occurrence of a contaminant in food.


To lower the temperature.

Corrective action

The steps to be taken by your staff where a breach of a control measure occurs (that is, to control the hazard).


Also referred to as local governments, councils are the third tier of the Australian political system. In 2016 there were 79 councils in Victoria, each consisting of between five and 12 councillors who are democratically elected to govern a particular geographic area in the best interests of the local community. See also municipality.


Occurs when harmful bacteria or allergens spread to food from other food, surfaces, hands or equipment. For example, food poisoning can occur when bacteria in raw meat or seafood juices, or raw egg comes into contact with cooked or ready-to-eat food. Cross-contamination can also occur if equipment used for raw food preparation is then used for cooked or ready-to-eat food.


The receipt of goods from a supplier, at which time the proprietor then takes responsibility for the food.


Chemical, such as washing-up liquid, used to assist with the removal of grease, dirt and food from utensils or equipment. Detergents do not kill bacteria. Detergents work best in clean, hot water.


A chemical used for disinfecting, which kills bacteria. Surfaces must be clean of grease, dirt and food before using disinfectants.

Dry goods

Food ingredients that can be stored at room temperature (not chilled or frozen) without becoming unsafe to eat (for example, flour, sugar, rice, jars and unopened bottles of sauce, canned fruit and raw vegetables).

Dry storage

Storing dry goods at room temperature.

Environmental health officer (EHO)

Environmental health officers assess risk and monitor and enforce public health laws in a range of areas including food safety. They were formerly known as health inspectors.


A machine, instrument, apparatus, utensil or appliance (other than a single-use item) used in connection with food handling.

Fermented milk

A food obtained by fermentation of milk or products derived from milk, where the fermentation involves the action of microorganisms and results in coagulation and a reduction in pH.

Fermented soft drink

See brewed soft drink.

Food Act 1984 (the Act)

The principal Act that controls the sale of food in Victoria. Under the Act, food business owners must ensure food sold to customers is safe and suitable to eat. In this report, unless otherwise specified, the terms the ‘Act’ refer to this Act.

Food business

Under the Act, a business, enterprise or activity (other than those involved in primary production) that involves handling of food sold or intended for sale.

Food handling

The making, manufacturing, producing, collecting, extracting, processing, storing, transporting, delivering, preparing, treating, preserving, packing, cooking, thawing, serving or displaying of food.

Food handling requirements

A program that covers food handling, personal hygiene, cleaning of the equipment and monitoring of these practices to ensure the safe production of food.

Food poisoning

When an individual is sick from eating food that has been affected by:

  • biological contamination – food-poisoning bacteria that have grown to large numbers or a toxin from bacterial spores that can survive cooking or from food that is not cooled quickly

  • physical contamination – things found in food that should not be present such as stones, adhesive bandages, hair, glass, insects, wood or metal

  • chemical contamination – where cleaning agents, detergents or fly sprays have come in contact with food.

Food premises

For the purposes of the Act, 'food premises' refers to any premises where food is sold, or handled with the intention that it be sold, except primary food production premises. Food premises may be fixed, temporary or mobile.

Food recall

A request to return to the maker a batch or an entire production run of a food product due to the discovery of safety issues. A recall may be mandatory or voluntary.

Food safety program (FSP)

A documented program developed by a business that describes how it will manage food safety through the identification and control of hazards in the production, manufacturing and handling of food as described in the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. The program also specifies the records that the business maintains to demonstrate the implementation of the program and actions taken to keep food safe.

Food safety supervisor

Person(s) within your business responsible for looking after food safety. The food safety supervisor can recognise, prevent and alleviate the potential hazards associated with handling of food. They must have met the appropriate food safety competency standards for the type of premises they are working in and have the ability and authority (of the proprietor) to supervise other people handling food and ensure it is done safely. For information about qualifications, go to

Food supplier

A person or company that provides food ingredients, prepared foods, cooked or ready-to-eat foods to your business.

Food-grade container

A protective covering or wrap that will not contaminate food products, especially by leaching chemicals into the food.

Foodborne illness

Illness caused through eating contaminated food, such as chemical contamination or a virus or food-poisoning bacteria.


Preserve food by refrigerating below freezing point or using blast freeze equipment.

Frozen products

Foods made solid by refrigeration below freezing. Foods that are partially thawed are not frozen products.

Frozen storage

Controlled storage conditions that maintain frozen products until required for use.


To decorate or embellish food (for example, the addition of parsley on top of lasagna).

Gastroenteritis, gastro (food poisoning)

Illness caused either by foodborne or water-borne bacteria. Large numbers of bacteria in food or water can cause those who consume it to become ill. A person with gastro can suffer from a range of symptoms, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, sore throat, fever and jaundice.


A biological, chemical or physical agent in, or a condition of, food that could be dangerous to human health.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)

A management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.

High acid food

Food that is below pH 3.7.

High-risk foods

The nature of food, together with the way it is handled and the vulnerability to illness of the person eating the food, determines food safety risk. The terms ‘high risk’ and ‘low risk’ are used in this report for ease of reference. High-risk food should be taken to refer to foods that require more careful handling to keep them safe. This usually involves temperature control (refrigeration and/or cooking to a sufficiently high temperature) to control or kill pathogens that can cause poisoning.


Keep or reserve; keep in a specified condition.


To keep food at, or above, 60 °C using appropriate equipment, such as hot lamps and bains-marie.


A fermented milk drink. When made without dairy, kefir is a brewed soft drink.


A brewed soft drink.

Low acid food

Food that is above pH 4.6.


Any living organism that can survive as a single cell, including bacteria, viruses, yeasts and moulds.


A systematic process followed by staff to check a food handling activity or process.


A direction or instruction under a law from a regulator about the handling or sale of food.


To remove the outer covering of a foodstuff (for example, fruit, vegetable, prawn).

Pest control

The elimination of pests from a food premises and the prevention of pests from entering the premises.

Pest controller

A service provided by specialists to eliminate pests using methods such as bait boxes and other pesticides suitable for use in a food premises.


Birds, rodents, insects.


Vegetables that have been acidified by lactic acid fermentation or the direct addition of vinegar.

Potable water

Water that is acceptable and safe for human consumption. Potable water must be used in a food business for washing food and/or food ingredients, for cooking, adding to food and drinks, making ice, cleaning of food contact surfaces, cleaning food containers and utensils, hand washing and personal hygiene.

Potential hazard

Something that could make food unsafe, but has not yet done so. For example, a potential hazard would using the same utensils for cooked and raw food preparation.


In relation to food, any activity that involves preparation of food for sale.

Processed fruit

Fruit and vegetables that have been altered from their original state. For example, peeled, chopped, pureed, preserved, cooked.


For the purposes of this FoodSmart, ‘proprietor’ refers to the business, community group or not-for-profit organisation responsible for the operation of a food premises.

Raw materials

Food before it is changed or processed.

Ready-to-eat food

Food that is ordinarily consumed in the same state in which it is sold. This does not include nuts in the shell and whole, raw fruits or vegetables that are intended for hulling, peeling or washing by the consumer.

Refrigerated storage

The storage of potentially hazardous food at a safe temperature of between 0 °C and 5 °C.


The heating of food already cooked and cooled once to a temperature that will kill any microbial organisms that may be growing in that food.


To apply heat or chemicals, or a combination of heat and chemicals, to kill food poisoning bacteria or reduce the number of bacteria to a minimum level.


A chemical used to reduce bacteria on a work surface (see Support program 2: Cleaning and sanitising for more information on cleaning chemicals and how they work).


Cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria.


A process where customers serve themselves.


Established benchmark for staff to follow that ensures food and food processes remain safe.

Starter culture

A microbiological culture which initiates fermentation.

Stock rotation

The storage of food so that the more recently delivered or acquired stock is placed behind existing stock. This practice ensures the oldest stock will be used first and helps avoid food passing its 'use-by' or ‘best-before’ date.


The term ‘sushi’ in the FoodSmart food safety program refers to nigiri pieces and nori rolls in general. A nigiri piece is a piece of seafood (raw or cooked) placed on top of vinegared rice. A nori roll is defined as vinegared rice, seafood (raw or cooked) and/or vegetables or other ingredients rolled in seaweed sheets.

Temperature control

The methods used by a business to maintain the temperature of food at 5 °C or below for chilled foods and 60 °C or higher for hot foods.


Removing food from frozen storage (–15°C) and bringing it to a chilled state (up to 5 °C) prior to preparation or cooking.


An instrument used to measure temperature, such as a probe thermometer (see Support program 5: Thermometer use, calibration and equipment maintenance).

Victorian Food Act 1984 (the Act)

The principal Act that controls the sale of food in Victoria. Under the Act, food business owners must ensure food sold to customers is safe and suitable to consume.


Clean with liquid, especially detergent and water.


A fermented milk where the fermentation has been carried out with lactic acid producing microorganisms.