The quality of animal food products such as milk and eggs, as well as foods, is largely based on their sensorial characteristics. Loss of food quality is brought about by chemical and physical changes to the food's intrinsic properties, which bring about deterioration in food appearance, flavor and texture, and/or the development of off-odors. These changes are the result of physical phenomena or the action of intrinsic or microbial enzymes, the latter resulting from the growth of spoilage microorganisms that become associated with foods during rearing, harvesting, processing, distribution, and/or storage procedures.

The safety of foods may be compromised by three types of hazards: physical, chemical, and biological. Physical hazards (e.g., glass, plastic) tend to be of lower safety risk than chemical or biological contaminants, as they usually cause only injury and affect a small number of consumers. Chemical hazards include chemical residues, which may be of environmental or synthetic nature, whereas biological hazards include bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which may lead to foodborne illness and death.

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