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Glossary beginning with C

A glossary of technical terms related to handwashing. Select a letter above to begin.


Campylobacter Jejuni

This bacteria causes the foodborne infection Campylobacteriosis. Campylobacter jejuni is an emerging pathogen and is often found in raw chicken, raw milk and cattle. It is the leading cause of bacterial diarrhea in this and in other industrialized countries.


This foodborne illness is caused by Campylobacter jejuni. Symptoms include fever, headache, abdominal pain, fatigue and diarrhea. A person can become infected by eating under-cooked chicken, or other foods such as salad, that have been cross-contaminated with raw chicken. An infected food handler can spread the disease by preparing the food with unwashed hands (fecal contamination).

Estimated # of foodborne cases: 2-4 million (FDA)
Estimated # of foodborne deaths: 110-511 (1993 USDA estimate)
Estimated monetary cost: 0.6-1.0 billion dollars (1993 USDA estimate)


Any animal or person who harbors disease-causing bacteria in the body without having noticeable symptoms. A carrier can transmit the bacteria to other persons through direct contact or through food.


Central Atlantic States Association of Food and Drug Officials, one of six AFDO regional affiliates that works to promote regulation uniformity, modernization of inspection techniques and enforcement of laws in the food, drug, devices and cosmetics industries. The association provides training and professional development programs aimed at advancing consumer protection. (see AFDO)


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as part of the Department of Health and Human Services, CDC's mission is to protect the nation's health. Most of CDC's food safety work is in the area of surveillance of foodborne disease. CDC also inspects cruise ships in U.S. ports through its Vessel Sanitation Program.


Conference for Food Protection, a non-profit organization comprised of regulators, industry, academia, professional organizations and consumers that addresses problems, offers recommendations, and develops and implements practices to ensure food safety and consumer protection. Although the Conference, which meets at least biennially, has no formal regulatory authority, it influences government agencies to adopt laws and regulations that ensure safety in all aspects of the production, processing, packaging, distribution, sale and service of foods.


Code of Federal Regulations, the official compilation of federal rules and requirements. It is divided into fifty volumes, known as titles. Title 21- Food and Drugs, details all regulations officially promulgated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Title 7 is Agriculture.


see CP-FS

Chronic Sequelae

Any secondary illness that follows the acute phase of a foodborne illness. A sequelae usually lasts for years and may become debilitating. An example is kidney failure, which may follow acute E. coli 0157:H7.


The removal of soil, food residue, dirt or grease.

Clostridium Difficile

A bacterium, most often affecting older adults in hospitals and long-term care facilities, that can produce symptoms of fever, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. If unsuccessfully treated, C. diff can result in colitis, sepsis and rarely death. Illness usually occurs after the use of antibiotics, and is spread through the fecal-oral route. Frequent and thorough hand washing (especially after using the restroom) and disinfecting kitchen and bathroom surfaces to avoid cross-contamination are vital in stopping the spread of C. difficile. According to the CDC, between 1999 and 2004, CDAD (C diff-associated disease) caused more than 20,000 deaths.

Codex Alimentarius

Uniform food standards for use governments throughout the world that are developed by the Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization.


A large number of bacteria.

Communicable Disease

A disease that can be transferred from one individual to another by direct or indirect contact.

Conditional Employee

The FDA considers a conditional employee a potential food employee who has not yet responded to medical questions or examinations designed to identify potential food employees who may be suffering from a disease that can be transmitted through food. (see FDA Food Code Chapter 1 : http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/FoodCod...)

Confirmed Disease Outbreak

A foodborne disease outbreak becomes a confirmed disease outbreak after laboratory analysis of specimens identifies a causative agent and epidemiological analysis implicates the food as the source of the illness. (see FDA Food Code Chapter 1 : http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/FoodCod...)


Any biological, chemical or physical agent, in food or on a food-contact surface that might be detrimental to food safety.


The introduction of any potentially harmful biological, chemical or physical agent into food.


To take all necessary actions to guarantee and maintain compliance with criteria outlined in a HACCP plan.

Control Point

Any step at which biological, chemical or physical factors can be controlled.

Core Item

Includes any item within the 2009 FDA Food Code that relates to general sanitation, operational controls, sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOP's), facilities or structures, equipment design, or general maintenance. (see FDA Food Code Chapter 1 : http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/FoodCod...)

Corrective Action

Any action taken when monitoring results at a critical control point indicates a loss of control.


Certified Professional-Food Safety, a certification (formerly the CFSP) designed for individuals within the public and private sectors whose primary responsibility is the protection and safety of food. In order to earn the certification, applicants must successfully complete the CP-FS exam, administered by NEHA and its affiliates, which tests knowledge of food microbiology, HACCP principles and regulatory requirements.

Critical Control Point

Points at which a control can be applied and is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level.

Critical Control Point Decision Tree

A sequence of questions to help in determining whether a control point is a CCP.

Critical Limit

Maximum and minimum levels at which a hazard must be controlled at a CCP to prevent, eliminate or reduce the occurrence of a food safety hazard.

Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease causes inflammation in the small intestine, which causes pain and can make the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea. Other complications of Crohn's include blockage of the intestine, ulcers, arthritis, kidney stones, gallstones or other diseases of the liver and biliary system. Foodborne transmissions of E. coli, Listeria and Streptococcus have been linked to Crohn's disease.


The transfer of harmful biological, chemical or physical agents from one food or surface to another. Transfer occurs through direct contact or by way of a food-contact surface, such as a person's hand, a cutting board, countertop or utensils. Cross-contamination is a major contributing factor in foodborne illness (food poisoning).

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