The quality of foods is influenced by chemical and physical changes associated with their intrinsic properties or environmental variables. Loss of quality may also occur due to enzymatic changes brought about by intrinsic or microbial enzymes. Food products of animal origin are easily contaminated with microorganisms, the extent of which depends on hygienic practices; sanitation and processing procedures; and conditions under which the products are harvested, processed, handled, distributed, and stored. The levels and types of microorganisms contaminating meat and poultry products at the end of processing may have important consequences on the spoilage and quality of the food. Furthermore, microbial contamination of food products with foodborne pathogens, as well as chemical (e.g., chemical residues) and physical (e.g., bone, glass, wood) hazards, may compromise the safety of foods. Loss of food quality and compromise of its safety lead to economic losses; foodborne illness may also lead to human suffering and death.
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