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Glossary beginning with S

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



Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella typhimurium, Salmonella heidelberg,Salmonella javiana and Salmonella dublin are all bacteria that can cause the foodborne illness salmonellosis. Salmonella is commonly foundin meat, poultry and eggs but is usually destroyed by cooking food thoroughly.


The foodborne illness salmonellosis is caused by various strains of Salmonella. Symptoms include fatigue, cough,bloody stools, headache, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and fever. Symptoms of arthritis may occur 3-4 weeks after the initial symptoms. AIDS patients frequently suffer from recurrent episodes of salmonellosis. Foodborne transmission can come from many sources including: infected food handlers, poor personal hygiene,cross-contamination, inadequate cooking, refrigeration or sewage disposal or from food such as shellfish harvested from sewage-contaminated waters.

Estimated # of cases: 696,000 to 3.8 million (1993 USDA estimate)
Estimated # of deaths: 696 to 3,840 (1993 USDA estimate)
Estimated monetary cost: 0.6 to 3.5 billion dollars (1993 USDA estimate)


A member of a local, state or federal public health department who conducts inspections, files reports and offers advice to food service operators in addressing sanitation problems.


An establishment, surface, utensil, or other area that is clean and free of illness-causing levels of bacteria or other contaminants.


The hygienic process of reducing the number of microorganisms to a safe level. According to the FDA, a sanitizer must be capable of killing 99.999% (5 log reduction) of a specific bacteria within 30 seconds. (see FDA Food Code Chapter 1 : http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/FoodCod...)


A waterless hand cleaning protocol using a combination of paper towels, friction and absorption properties together with the germ killing power of alcohol based hand-sanitizer. http://www.handwashingforlife.com/sanitwice_hand_hygiene_without_water


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, an atypical form of pneumonia that first appeared in China in 2002. SARS is now known to be caused by the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), a novel coronavirus. SARS has a mortality rate of around 10%.

Secondary Contamination

Pathogens (virus, bacteria, parasite) that has been transferred from one location to another, such as from hands to face or from a contaminated utensil to skin. It can also refer to transfer from one infected or contaminated person to another. When food is not handled properly in a foodservice setting, a virus or bacteria such as Norovirus or Salmonella can quickly extend beyond the boundaries of the kitchen. Secondary contamination generally occurs when workers with poor handwashing skills handle ready-to-eat food, or inadequately clean utensils, counter tops and equipment, passing along the pathogens to others.


A behavior-changing hand cleaning system to reduce the risk of foodborne illness outbreaks. In involves risk assessment, setting and optimizing safe levels, and effective hand washing training and monitoring. It is the documented outcome of the HandsOn System.

ServeReady® Hands

Hands, bare or gloved, which meet the operator's safe level standard.


The seriousness of the effects of a hazard.


Shigella flexneri, Shigella dysenteriae, Shigellasonnei and Shigella boydii are all strains of bacteria that can cause foodborne shigellosis. This bacterium is usually transmitted through feces, and therefore, any prepared food contaminated by an infected food handler is potentially hazardous.


Shigella bacteria cause foodborne shigellosis. Symptoms include watery, bloody or mucus tainted diarrhea, nausea,vomiting, abdominal pain or cramps and fever. Infected individuals maybe asymptomatic. Shigellosis is very common in AIDS patients. Possible long-term effects include Reiter's disease, arthritis and hemolyticuremic syndrome. In cases of foodborne transmission, a person becomes infected with Shigella by swallowing the bacteria after eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Unsanitary handling of food (along with fecally contaminated water) by infected food handlers is the most common cause of foodborne contamination.
Estimated # of cases: 300,000 (FDA number due to food contamination is unknown). Reported # of cases: 30,000 (FDA)

Spoilage Bacteria

Bacteria in any food item that causes it to rot. They are usually not harmful but make food look and smell bad (old milk).


Microscopic dormant "eggs" formed by some pathogens that are very hardy, and usually survive cooking and other sterilization techniques.

SQF Institute

Safe Quality Food Institute, a division of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), established to administer the SQF Program, a HACCP-based global food safety and quality certification and management system for farmers, food manufacturers and distributors. SFQ offers three levels of certification: Food Safety Fundamentals, Food Safety Plans and Comprehensive Food Safety and Quality Management Systems.

Staphylococcal Foodborne Intoxication

Staphylococcus aureusbacteria causes Staphylococcal foodborne intoxication. Symptoms include nausea, retching, abdominal pain and cramps, diarrhea and prostration.In severe cases, muscle spasms, blood pressure and pulse rate changes and headaches may accompany regular symptoms. Foodborne transmission of Staphylococcal aureus may come from food handlers with infections containing pus, storing cooked foods in large containers, holding food sat warm temperatures and preparing foods many hours before serving allowing bacteria to multiply to dangerous levels. Other foodborne transmission vehicles include food processing equipment and surfaces(cross-contamination).

Estimated # of cases: 1,513,000 (1993 USDA estimate)
Estimated # of deaths: 1,210 (1993 USDA estimate)
Estimated monetary cost: 1.2 billion dollars (1993 USDA estimate)

Staphylococcus Aureus

Staphylococcus aureus is the bacteria responsible for Staphylococcal foodborne intoxication. Staphylococci are in the air, sewage, water, milk products and on food preparation surfaces and equipment. Animals and many healthy humans harbor the bacteria in their nasal passages, throats, skin and hair. Any food requiring substantial handling to prepare is often associated with Staphylococcus aureus.


The act of making food, utensils, surfaces or facilities sanitary by heat, chemicals or other methods.

Streptococcus Group A

Streptococcus group A is caused by Streptococcus pyogenes. Symptoms include septic sore throat and pain with swallowing, fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache and possible rash. The source of a foodborne Streptococcus outbreak is usually a food handler with poor hygiene, an ill food handler or unpasteurized milk. Once contaminated, if food is left at room temperature for several hours before being eaten, bacteria can multiply to illness-causing levels. Estimates as to the number of foodborne transmissions is unknown, although the bacteria has a prominent place on the CDC's listing of pathogens that can cause disease after an infected person handles food.

Streptococcus Pyogenes

Streptococcus pyogenes is the bacteria responsible for Streptococcus group A and Scarlet Fever.

Strict Liability

Legal term meaning that the injured person need only prove:

1. I was injured,
2. the product was defective, and
3. the defect caused the injury.

It is not necessary to prove negligence,and neither good faith nor the fact that the defendant took allpossible precautions are valid defenses.

Swine Flu Virus

SIV or any strain of influenza virus that is endemic in pigs. It is common in pigs worldwide but rarely transmitted to human. If virus transmission does occur and cause human influenza, it is called zoonotic swine flu. Its symptoms mirror those of common influenza A, however only 50 cases of zoonotic swine flu have been confirmed since the 1950's. The current influenza A H1Ni pandemic was originally called swine flu due to perceived gene similarities between the two strains. However, research has proven that the current influenza outbreak is significantly different from the swine flu virus found in North American pigs. (see Novel H1N1)

HandsOn™ System

HandsOn System

5 steps to convert underwashing to under control. Set and track your risk-based ServeReady® Hands and TouchReady® Surface standards.

SaniTwice® for Catered Events

SaniTwice for Catered Events

Uncompromised hand cleanliness for those serving food at venues without running water.

Teaching Videos

Teaching Videos

Globally recognized for their ease of use in any language. Available in DVD and MP4 file download.

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