food contaminants

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food contaminants

substances that make food unfit for human consumption. Examples include bacteria, toxic chemicals, carcinogens, teratogens, and radioactive materials. Basically harmless substances, such as water, that may be added to food to increase its weight are also regarded as contaminants.


materials taken into the body by mouth which provide nourishment in the form of energy or in the building of tissues. Common usage is to use the term in relation to humans and dogs and cats and to use feed for the other animals but the rule is not absolute. See also diet, ration, feed.

food additive
nonfood materials added to a diet to enhance or limit a body function, e.g. growth, to control infection or to physically alter the food to facilitate handling or processing or preserving. See food additive.
food allergy
an immune-mediated reaction to a food or food additive; clinical signs are most commonly demonstrated in the alimentary tract or skin but may affect any system and in any hypersensitivity mode. Commonly diagnosed in dogs, occasionally in horses, but rarely in the other species. Called food hypersensitivity. See also dermatitis, pruritus, angioedema, urticaria, gastroenteritis.
food anaphylaxis
an acute allergic response to a food or food additive, with systemic signs typical of anaphylaxis in the species concerned. See also systemic anaphylaxis.
food animals
animals used in the production of food for humans. Includes, in common usage, the species and breeds that also supply fiber and hides for human use. Use of this term has spawned a rash of new knowledge disciplines such as food animal medicine, food animal ophthalmology, and new service areas such as food animal practice.
food borne disease
a disease with food as the source of infection. An example is Eschericia coli 0157:H7 infection of humans via hamburger meat.
food bumps
food chain
the path taken by a raw food product from the farm or other producing unit to the table of the consumer. Includes sale, transport, storage, processing, packaging and retail sale and all of the points of risk at which the food may become contaminated or spoiled or corrupted in some way.
food contaminants
include bacteria, parasites and toxic residues.
food conversion ratio
efficiency in converting the food into energy or tissue; a characteristic of the food relating largely to digestibility.
food exchanges
foods of approximately equivalent levels of energy, proteins, fats and carbohydrates, which may be exchanged or substituted in a diet without significant alteration to its nutritional balance.
generic food
see generic pet food.
food hypersensitivity
see food allergy (above).
food idiosyncrasy
an adverse reaction to ingested food by an individual, not mediated by immune mechanisms; may be due to an enzyme defect.
food intake
amount of food taken in a unit of time, usually daily.
food intolerance
an abnormal physiologic response to food which is not immune-mediated.
food legislation
the content, purity and public health connotations of animal foods are usually controlled by local legislation.
manufactured food
those commercially formulated and prepared; includes stock feeds, particularly supplements and pellets, canned and dry dog and cat foods.
food marker
inert material included in food to measure speed of passage of food through alimentary tract.
pet food
usually refers to commercially prepared food such as canned, semimoist, dry, kibbled, biscuits, loaves, and butcher's scraps in various forms provided for dogs and cats.
plant-based food
usual in livestock, but in carnivores it refers to mixed-source diets with a high plant-origin carbohydrate content; a common formula in commercially prepared pet foods.
food poisoning
a group of acute illnesses due to ingestion of a specific toxin in the food. Usually causes gastroenteritis and vomiting and diarrhea.
food refusal syndrome
observed mostly in pigs; refusal to eat a particular feed or meal but willing to eat other feeds. See also food refusal factor, deoxynivalenol, vomitoxin.
food rewards
the many types of food items owners and trainers use to reward their dogs or cats for behavior that pleases them; may be a part of training and behavior modification programs, but is often done simply as a result of the owner's affection for the pet.
food specific dynamic action
see specific dynamic action.
food toxicity
may be the result of toxins or microorganisms contaminating the food or excessive levels of a nutrient, such as vitamin A.