Handwashing for Life

Overcoming Underwashing
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Glossary beginning with A

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


Accredited Program

A food protection manager certification program that has been evaluated and listed by an accrediting agency as conforming to national standards for organizations that certify individuals. (see FDA Food Code Chapter 1 http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/FoodCod...)

Acute Gastroenteritis

Or AGE, an irritation and inflammation of the digestive tract characterized by sudden onset of symptoms of diarrhea and/or vomiting, especially watery diarrhea and projectile vomiting.

Adenosine Triphosphate

ATP is the fuel that drives light production in fireflies. The molecule is essential for life and is found in all living cells including bacteria. ATP is highly stable on environmental surfaces.


Any food, drug or cosmetic items that is poisonous, insanitary, or contains deleterious ingredients; absence, substitution, or addition of constituents; color additives that are deemed unsafe; confectionery containing alcohol or nonnutritive substances; oleomargarine containing filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance; dietary supplements containing unsafe ingredients or having gone through unsafe manufacturing practices; re-offer of food previously denied admission and unsanitary transport. (see Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, Sec. 402 : http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Legislation/FederalFoodDrugandC...)


Association of Food and Drug Officials, an international, non-profit organization for regulatory food, drug and medical device officials and industry leaders that works to improve and protect the nations' health and safety by promoting uniform product safety laws and rational regulations within the industry. AFDO offers training programs, publishes technical papers and reports, and hosts an annual education conference.


Amebiasis is caused by the ingestion of an Entamoeba histolytica cyst. Symptoms include diarrhea, bloody stools and fever. Water and any prepared food handled by an infected food handler with poor hygiene may cause contamination.


A compound that interferes with the growth of bacteria. Antibiotics are used (and misused) to kill bacterial infections in people and livestock.

Antibiotic Resistance

The ability acquired by microorganisms to defend themselves against antibiotics. The recent overuse and misuse of antibiotics have rendered many antibiotics useless against various strains of foodborne illness including Salmonella, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus.


See antibiotic.


Approved by a restaurant’s or food establishment’s local health department or other responsible agency.


Without obvious symptoms; not showing or producing indications of a disease or other medical condition, such as an individual infected with a pathogen but not exhibiting or producing any signs or symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, or jaundice.

Attack Rate

The proportion of individuals who are exposed to an infectious agent who become clinically ill.

Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmunity is a result of a misdirected immune system that causes one’s own immune system to attack itself. Rheumatic heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Graves disease, Sjogren syndrome, autoimmune thyroiditis, psoriasis, Kawasaki disease and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus are all autoimmune disorders that have been linked to several foodborne bacteria including, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Yersinia and Clostridium.

Avian Influenza
A highly contagious viral disease with nearly 100% mortality in fowl. Caused by influenza A virus subtypes H5 and H7. All types of birds are susceptible to the virus, but outbreaks occur most often in chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. A number of countries in Asia are experiencing outbreaks of avian influenza. Small numbers of people have become infected, causing serious illness and/or death. Human risk appears to result from exposure to live poultry rather than handling, cooking or eating poultry meat.

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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