Food Science & Tech

Active packaging

Food packaging that interacts chemically or biologically with its contents so that its shelf life is extended or the product is modified during storage.


Substances added to food by the manufacturer that are not normally consumed alone as an ingredient. Additives cam improve flavour, appearance (colour), and nutritional value, extend storage life and preserve flavour.


Incorporation of air into a mixture in order to increase its volume, improve texture and flavour of certain foods and beverages.

Anaerobic breakdown

A series of biological processes whereby microorganisms break down organic substances in the absence of oxygen, for example fermentation.

Aseptic packaging

Packaging of ultra high temperature (UHT) treated food IMTO w sterilised package in order to create a shelf stable product.


The use of living microorganisms (animal, plant, Protozoa) to create new products with specific characteristics and attributes, for example, developing or selecting microorganisms to make yoghurt with new characteristics, such as flavour, texture, or improved gut health for the consumer.


Caramelisation occurs when carbohydrates like sugar are treated with heat causing them to turn brown, for example, caramel sauce and browning of onions when cooked.

Chemical properties

Components of food such as enzymes, acids, alkalis, moisture and nutrients, that enable foods to change during processing and storage.


The process that occurs when proteins separate from other nutrients and change from a liquid to a semi solid state with the application of heat, addition of acids, enzymes, alcohols or salts, for example, scrambled egg, custard.


A food category referring to raw agricultural products, for example, wheat, corn, that are produced in large quantities by many different producers. After trade or purchase, commodities are processed into other higher value food products.


A person who purchases or uses goods, products and services, for example, purchasing food at the supermarket.

Cross contamination

The transfer of microorganisms to food from other sources, for example, hands, equipment and other food or between unprocessed/raw material and processed/final food products.


Techniques which are used to separate a solid that is dissolved in a liquid. For example, heating a syrup which causes evaporation and leaves sugar crystals upon cooling. Acids help prevent crystallisation in supersaturated foods like honey and jam.

Demographic group

A population subset with similar characteristics such as socio-economic state, age, education level, ethnicity.


The permanent and irreversible break down of protein molecules in food. Occurs with the application of heat, addition of acids or bases, irradiation or mechanical actions, for example, beating egg whites, cooking of meat.

Design brief/specifications/task

A context within which a problem is set.


Browning and chemical change occurring to starch when subjected to heat. Upon heating starch is broken down into dextrins causing the colour, taste, aroma and flavour of the food to change, for example, browning of bread during baking.


Prevents mixtures containing dissimilar liquids, such as oil and vinegar, from separating. For example, egg yolks are an emulsifier used to stabilise mayonnaise - an oil and vinegar emulsion.

Emerging foods

Foods developed as a result of new technology that may enhance food characteristics, food production, food storage and packaging.


Protein molecules found in food that acts as biological catalysts causing food to change, for example, ripen or brown (enzymatic browning).

Environmental factors

Conditions created by an environmental event such as weather events, temperature, sunlight and soil type which affect the production of food and the survival of organisms.

Enzymatic activity

Chemical reactions that occur at enzyme reactive sites resulting in the conversion of one molecule into another. The rate of enzyme activity may be influenced by factors such as pH or temperature.


Moral principles that govern a person's or a group's behaviour.

Fair trade

Seeks equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions for producers and workers in the developing world.


The anaerobic conversion of sugar to carbon dioxide and alcohol by yeast. The properties of molecules are altered producing a desired product with a different flavour, easier digestion and increased nutrition and shelf life. Examples of fermented foods and beverages include kefir, sauerkraut, yoghurt and lager.

Food and beverage advertising practices

Techniques and strategies used to promote food and beverages to consumers, such as colour, slogans, music and graphics.

Food allergy

Abnormal reaction by the body to a food protein. The reaction causes the immune system to produce antibodies that react with the allergen causing severe symptoms including anaphylaxis. Most food allergies are caused by peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, sesame seeds, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.

Food distribution

The process of supplying and transporting food to consumers.

Food diversity

Wide ranging food and food products that individuals consume, for example, culturally diverse foods or foods from various food groups.

Food handling practices

Practical working practices, which promote food safety.

Food hygiene

The practice of cleanliness in relation to food and food manufacturing facilities.

Food intolerance

A non allergic food hypersensitivity to a certain food. Food intolerance is not an immune response, rather a chemical reaction that occurs after eating or drinking some foods. Food intolerance has been associated with asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. For example, lactose intolerance - a person reacts to lactose, the sugar in milk.

Food miles

The distance a food travels from the place it is produced to the point it reaches the consumer.

Food poisoning

Illness caused by consuming food that has been contaminated by chemicals, viruses or any other pathogenic microorganism.

Food processes

Transforming raw animal or plant produce into edible food.

Food products

Processed food sold to consumers for consumption.

Food security

Ensures that people's dietary needs are always met and that they have access to culturally acceptable safe and nutritious food through non-emergency sources.

Food service

Individuals or organisations whose main function is to provide food o related assistance to consumers.

Food spoilage

Damage to food, which causes deterioration in the colour, flavour, odour or consistency of a food product.

Food systems

The combined actions of people, processes and infrastructure to produce foods for a population.

Food sustainability

The processing and trading of food in ways that contribute to local economies, protect the diversity of animals and plants, and avoid damage to natural resources.