FAT TOM and Food Safety

FAT TOM is a mnemonic device used in the food service industry to describe the six golden conditions required for the growth of foodborne pathogens. Although bacteria are thoroughly at adapting to their environments, certain conditions promote bacterial growth more than others. These conditions include food type, acidity, fourth dimension, temperature, oxygen, and moisture. Understanding the optimum conditions for bacterial growth can potentially help you reduce your risk for bacterial infections and food poison.

fat-tom-food-safety

F – Food

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A – Acidity

The degree of acidity or alkalinity ( foundation ) of a means is measured by its ph. ph is measured on a scale from 0 to 14.0. An environment with a ph of 7.0 is precisely inert. Foods with a ph below 7.0 are acidic ; a ph above 7.0 is alkaline. Bacteria grow best in an environment that is slightly acidic or neutral ( ph degree of 4.6-7.5 ) and they flourish in a ph image between 6.6 and 7.5. Most bacteria will not grow at ph levels below 4.6 because the environment is besides acidic. thus, acidic foods, like vinegar and fresh fruits ( specially citrus ), rarely provide a favorable climate for infective bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration ’ mho ( FDA ) regulations for acid/acidified foods require that the food be brought to pH 4.5 or below .

T – Time

When low acerb and high protein available foods are left out besides long at room temperature can cause bacteria to grow to dangerous levels that can cause illness. food should not remain in the temperature risk zone ( 40°F – 140°F ) for more than 2 hours, and either be cooled or heated. If the temperature is above 90°F, food should not be left out more than 1 hour .

T – Temperature

Bacteria grow better at a temperature range of 40°F to 140°F – which is referred to as the “ temperature risk zone ”.

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important rules of food guard are to not leave food at room temperature for besides long and store foods at the correct temperature .

O – Oxygen

about all foodborne pathogens are aerobic, that is, requiring oxygen to survive and grow. A few microorganism grow only in anaerobic conditions ( in the absence of oxygen ). Botulism, a rare character of foodborne illness, is caused by a specific type of bacteria called clostridium botulism that grows only in anaerobic conditions .

M – Moisture

Water is essential for the growth of microorganisms. perishability of a food is related to the moisture contentedness, and the water activeness flush. moisture content is the sum of water in food expressed as a share. Water activity ( aw ) is the total of water system available for practice and is measured on a scale of 0 to 1.0. Bacteria, yeast, and molds breed quickly with a high water natural process charge, above 0.86. Meats, produce, and soft cheeses are examples of foods with aw in this range ( between 0.86 and 1.0 ). Foods preserved with strategic arms limitation talks or carbohydrate, such as beef arrhythmic or jams and jellies have a lower aw because salt and sugar deprive microorganisms of water and inhibit their reproduction. These products are shelf-stable ( i.e. they do not need refrigeration, unless opened ). infective bacteria have trouble growing in foods such as dry noodles, flours, candies and crackers, where aw is below 0.85. FDA regulations for canned foods require aw of 0.85 or below .

FAT TOM Food Safety Infographics

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