MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: What is the difference between food spoilage and food deterioration?

Date: Wed Oct 11 10:19:30 2006
Posted By: Edward Richter, Faculty, Food Microbiology
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 1157632205.Gb

Food spoilage is often thought of as the decomposition of food by 
enzymes, or microorganisms.

Food Spoilage is best defined as:	“ the undesirable consequence of 
chemical, biological or physical action”.  Another way to state it 
is :  “undesirable change in composition”.

One person’s spoilage is another person’s fermentation.  Desirable 
microbiological change is sometimes called fermentation.  Ripening of 
cheese or the raising of bread are all desirable changes of food.

Deterioration is best defined as the breakdown of composition or the 
process of becoming undesirable.  We often associate food spoilage or 
over ripening of food with a deterioration or breaking down of the 
complexity of the food.  When microorganisms convert the complex protein 
or carbohydrate of food to amines or acids that is deterioration.  It may 
also be spoilage or it may be fermentation depending if it is desirable 
or undesirable.

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