(3) As a veterinary food inspection specialist, it is your task to recognize
early stages of deterioration before the food items reach the consumer.
b. Wholesomeness. Wholesomeness is a term that refers to freedom from
pathogenic or otherwise harmful microorganisms. Wholesomeness is a characteristic
possessed by a food product that is conducive to good health and well being in the
(1) Unwholesome. Unwholesome food is food procured, packed, or held
under unsanitary conditions that renders it injurious to the health of the consumer, or
food or food containers having naturally occurring or added harmful substances, or food
found to be filthy, putrid, decomposed, or produced from a diseased animal or an animal
that died other than by slaughter.
(2) Off-condition. Off-condition is any variation from the expected
appearance, feel, smell, or taste characteristics of a product when it was initially
produced or processed for resale. (A product is considered unwholesome if any off-
condition affects it in such a way that the product may be injurious to the health of the
c. Quality. Quality is a term that refers to the degree of excellence or grade of a
product. The quality is important in protecting the financial interests of the Government.
d. Serviceability. Serviceability is a term that refers to the usefulness of a food
item. Reduced serviceability in a product may result in the use of additional processing
methods to return the food item to its original state.
e. Spoilage. Spoilage is also a term which we often hear in conjunction with
deterioration. Often, spoilage is used as a synonym for deterioration. However, we
need to make a distinction between these two terms. We define food spoilage as an
arbitrary end point of the deterioration process which denotes that a food item is
unwholesome and, therefore, is no longer suitable for human consumption.
(1) Spoilage is a result of the deterioration process. We should use the
term spoilage as a benchmark--a signal to denote that a food item is unwholesome and
is no longer suitable for human consumption.
(2) We know that spoilage can occur anywhere during the deterioration
process. The point of spoilage depends upon such factors as type of food (milk vs.
beef), storage environment (low-temperature storage vs. high-temperature), and
method of preservation (canning vs. freeze dehydration).