AN ASSESSMENT OF THE MICROBIAL FOOD SPOILAGE DISORDERS (DISEASES) AND ITS CONTROL
Foods and microorganisms have long and interesting associations which developed long before the beginning of recorded history. Foods are not only nutritious to consumers, but are also excellent sources of nutrients for microbial growth. Depending on the microorganisms present, foods may spoil or be preserved by fermentation. Foods can act as a reservoir for disease transmission, and thus detection and control of pathogens and spoilage organisms are important areas of food microbiology. During the entire sequence of food handling from the producer to the final consumer, microorganisms can affect food quality and develop potential health effects for humans. Food spoilage is a metabolic process that causes foods to be undesirable or unacceptable for human consumption due to changes in sensory characteristics (tactile, visual, olfactory or flavour). Chemical reactions that cause offensive sensory changes in foods are mediated by a variety of microbes that use food as a carbon and energy source. These organisms include bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses. Many physical and chemical methods are employed to control the growth of certain microbes on foods thereby preventing their spoilage.