Food Science Terms - S

Saccharin: Oldest of the non-nutritive sweeteners, is currently produced from purified, manufactured methyl anthranilate, a substance occurring naturally in grapes. It is 300 times sweeter than sucrose, heat stable and does not promote dental caries. Saccharin has a long shelf life, but a slightly bitter aftertaste. It is not metabolized in the human digestive system, is excreted rapidly in the urine and does not accumulate in body.   

Salmonella: genus of gram-negative bacterium, occurring in many animals, especially poultry and swine that can cause food poisoning. In the environment, salmonella can be found in water, soil, insects, factory and kitchen surfaces, animal fecal matter, and raw meats, poultry (including eggs) and seafood. Poor hygiene practice can lead to salmonella infections

Sanitary: Clean and free of harmful microorganisms and other contaminants.   

Sanitation: Act of reducing microbial organisms on cleaned food contact surfaces to a safe level.   

Sanitize: Clean something thoroughly by disinfecting or sterilizing it.   

Sanitizer: Approved substance or method to use when sanitizing.   

Sanitizing: Sanitizing is probably the most important part in brewing, as anything unclean that comes in contact with unfermented beer can ruin the taste of the beer. All brewing equipment should be thoroughly cleaned beforehand with either bleach or antibacterial cleanser.  

Saponification:By saponification (deesterification) of high methoxyl pectins, low methoxyl pectins are produced.   

Saponins: Functional component of soybeans, soy foods and soy protein-containing food which may lower LDL cholesterol and may contain anti-cancer enzymes.   

Saturated fat: fatty acid molecules in which all carbons contain a hydrogen, and therefore, no double bonds exist between carbon atom. In general, fats that contain a majority of saturated fatty acids are solid at room temperature, although some solid vegetable shortenings are up to 75 percent unsaturated. Some common fatty acids in foods include palmitic, stearic and myristic acids. Saturated fatty acids are more stable than unsaturated fatty acids because of their chemical structure. Stability is important to prevent rancidity and off flavor and odors.  

Sausage, Dry: Moisture protein ratio max. range of 2.25-3.7 fermented sausage which undergoes a moisture loss of up to 25% of the total. Final water activity ranges from .85-.91. Typical pH ranges from 4.7-5.0. Many are shelf-stable due to low water activity. Ex. Pepperoni, Salami.  

Sausage, Fermented: Class of chopped or ground meat products that, as a result of microbial fermentation of sugar, have reached a pH of 5.3 (although 4.6-5.0 is more typical) and have undergone a drying/aging process to remove 15-35% of the moisture.   

Sausage, Semi-Dry: (moisture protein ratio max. range of 1.6- 2.3 : fermented sausage which undergoes a moisture loss of up to 15% of the total. Final water activities range from 0.90-0.94. Generally smoked/cooked prior to consumption. Require refrigeration. Ex. Summer sausage, thuringer, cervelat.   

Scaling: Dividing of dough into pieces of equal weight.   

Scavengers: Materials that remove gases from packaging including oxygen scavengers, ethylene scavengers, carbon dioxide scavengers and water vapor absorbents.  

Scheduled Process: Detailed procedure for a single product issued by a recognized Process Authority that includes formulation, critical control points, processing steps, and storage, distribution and selling conditions/restrictions.   

Semi-continuous HPP: Treatment of liquiform products using one or more chambers fitted with a free piston to allow compression, hold, and decompression with discharge under clean or sterile conditions.   

Semi-sweet Chocolate: Also known as bittersweet chocolate. Contains a minimum of 35% chocolate liquor.   

Sensory: relating to the five basic senses: hearing, touch, taste, sight and smell

Sequestrants: Used to combine with trace metals in the environment to render them inactive.   

Serotypes: Group of related microorganisms distinguished by its composition of antigens.   

Serovar: See Serotype.   

Shelf-life: Length of time between packaging and use that a food product remains of acceptable quality to the user.   

Shelf-Stable: Foods considered non-perishable at room temperature for an acceptable period of time (generally weeks or months).   

Shell eggs: Eggs still in their shells.   

Shortening: Fats used in the baking or frying of foods. Shortenings impart or tender qualities to baked goods. Additives such as emulsifiers, antioxidants, anti foaming agents, flavoring, etc may be present, depending on the intended use of the product.   

Sinusoidal wave: Mode of propagation of the magnetic field.   

Sodium benzoate: Chemical preservative that is particularly effective against yeasts.   

Sodium metabisulphite: Chemical preservative that is effective against moulds and yeasts.  

Sodium nitrite: Salt used in smoked or cured fish and in meat-curing preparation. It acts as a preservative and color fixative. Can combine with chemicals in the stomach to form nitrosamine, a carcinogenic substance.   

Soils: Material that contaminates equipment (ea. grease, scale, burned on food or other food residues).  

Solanine: heat-stable toxin which can cause neurological disorders. Found in sprouting potatoes, tomatoes and aubergine

Solids content: Soluble and insoluble solid matter of a substance (see also °Brix).   

Soluble fiber: Type of dietary fiber found in psyllium, cereals, oatmeal, apples, citrus fruits, beans and other foods which increases the viscosity in the gut and acts to reduce high blood cholesterol levels which decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.   

Sorbitol: Sugar alcohol, suitable for diabetics.   

SOS: In X-rays technology, solid state opening switch that can deliver pulses in the gigawatt range.   

Sous vide: Process in which food is prepared, vacuum packed, cooked to pasteurize (sterilize) the food and chilled. These foods can be refrigerated for up to sixty days.   

Soy protein: Found in soybeans and soy-based foods which when consumed at the level of 25 grams per day may reduce the risk of heart disease.  

Sparge: Rinsing grains to extract residual sugar that clings to the grains after they have been mashed. Warm water is poured over the grains and hops above a strainer.  

Specific gravity: Measure of the density of a liquid relative to the amount of fermentable sugars it contains. By testing a beer's specific gravity it is possible to determine when the beer is done fermenting and to know in advance how strong the beer will be. 

Specific heat: Ability of a material to store heat. Described technically as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of unit mass of an object by a unit increment in temperature.   

Specification Sheets: Written materials prepared by manufacturers to describe their equipment and document important engineering information.   

Specification: Concise statement of a set of requirements to be satisfied by a product, material, or process.   

Specific-purpose foods: Foods produced for a specific purpose such as, to supply military personnel, for space explorations, to supply food for areas of temperature extremes or to supply high-protein biscuits for famine areas, and more recently, foods developed for a more specific health purpose in the general population.   

Spice bag: Closeable fabric bag used to extract spice flavor in pickling solution.  

Spoilage: Significant food deterioration, usually caused by bacteria and enzymes, that produces a noticeable change in the taste, odor, or appearance of the product.   

Spore: Inactive or dormant state of some rod-shaped bacteria. It is the part of mould that reproduces and causes the mould to spread. It is the mould's version of a seed.   

Spray drying: food processing method used to produce a powdered product from a liquid, eg milk and coffee powders

Stabilizers: food additive which helps food compounds which do not mix well to be mixed and stay in a homogeneous state known as structure stability. Typically seen in salad dressing to stop oil and water separating

Stability: Relative resistance of a product to an undesirable breakdown or change. For fats and oils, stability may refer to resistance to oxidation, hydrolysis, flavor reversion and formation of off odors and flavor.   

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP): Written procedures that will be followed in operating a foodservice system.   

Standardization: Grouping of unlike items into uniform lots on the basis of qualitative criteria, such as a food grade.   

Stanol/sterol esters: Functional component found in wood oils, corn, soy and wheat which may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels.   

Starch: Polysaccharide consisting of long chains of glucose molecules, joined via glycosidic bonds. Found very widely in plants, commonly as a form of energy storage in roots, tubers, fruits and seeds. In performs essentially the same functions as sugar, but is not sweet and not very soluble in water. Contains amylose and amylopectin

Starch retrogradation: process where amylose and amylopectin chains, in cooked, gelatinized starch, reassociate forming more ordered structures

Static chamber: Chamber that processes a given volume of food at a time.   

Static magnetic field: Magnetic fields that have constant intensity over time and whose field direction is constant. The intensity varies periodically according to the frequency and type of wave in the magnet.   

Stearate: Saturated fatty acid containing eighteen carbon atoms in its molecular “backbone” that is essentially neutral in effect on coronary heart disease in humans (i.e., doesn’t appreciably increase low-density lipoproteins in the bloodstream). Because of the heart disease neutrality and resistance to oxidation/breakdown, stearate-containing oils are an excellent cooking oil choice.   

Sterilant: Chemical that destroys micro-organisms but does not remove soils.   

Sterile: Absence of all living micro-organisms.   

Sterilization: Process in which foods are treated to eliminate all forms of microorganisms and spores (bacteria, molds, and viruses). Foods can be sterilized with high temperature treatment or with ionizing radiation. 

Sterilize: Kill all living microorganisms in order to make something incapable of causing infection.  

Stoke's equation: Velocity at which a sphere will rise or fall in a liquid varies as the square of its diameter; for example, a fat globule with a diameter of 2 microns will rise 4 times faster than a fat globule with a diameter of 1 micron. 

Storage area: Area where consumable food (dry, frozen, and refrigerated) and non- consumable products are stored in case lots, bulk packages, and broken case lots on shelving pallets or dunnage racks. Also includes storage of toxic chemicals, cleaning supplies, and paper goods. 

Strong flour: Wheat flour that has a high level of gluten. 

Style of pack: Form of canned food, such as whole, sliced, piece, juice, or sauce. The term may also be used to reveal whether food is filled raw or hot into jars. 

Sublimation: Change, when heated, from a solid state to a vapor without going through the liquid state. 

Sucralose: Only low-calorie sweetener that is made from sugar. It is approximately 600-times sweeter and does not contain calories. Sucralose is highly stable under a wide variety of processing conditions. Thus, it can be used virtually anywhere sugar can, including cooking and baking, without losing any of its sugar-like sweetness. 

Sucrose: Technical name for table sugar. Sucrose is the first storage molecule produced in all green plants and commonly derived from cane or beet crops. Sucrose is a diglyceride composed of glucose and fructose. 

Sugar: small chain carbohydrate, soluble in solution, that adds a sweet taste to foods. Although the consumer is confronted by a wide variety of sugars—sucrose, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, honey, corn syrup—there is no significant difference in the nutritional content or energy each provides, and therefore no advantage of one nutritionally over another. There also is no evidence that the body can distinguish between naturally occurring or added sugars in food products.  

Sugar alcohols: Ingredients used to add sweet flavor to food. Those often used instead of sugars include sorbitol, mamitol, and xylitol. Many fruits and vegetables contain sugar alcohols naturally. They’re also found in some sugarless gum, hard candies, jams and jellies. Besides adding sweetness, sugar alcohols also add texture, help foods stay moist, prevent browning when food is heated and give a cooling effect to the taste of food. They supply four calories per gram, but are absorbed slowly and incompletely and thus require little or no insulin for metabolism. They are not cavity-producing because they are not metabolized by bacteria that produce cavities. 

Sugar bloom: Visible as a dull white film on the surface of the chocolate. Dry and hard to the touch, sugar bloom is the result of surface moisture dissolving sugar in the chocolate and subsequent recrystallization of the sugar on the chocolate surface. Typically caused by cold chocolate being exposed to a warm humid environment with resultant condensation forming on the product. A visual and textural defect only. The product is fine to eat. 

Sugar penetration: Sugar exchange between substances of varying sugar content (e.g. fruits and surrounding sugar solution). 

Sulfites: Used to preserve the color of foods such as dried fruits and vegetable, and to inhibit the growth of microorganisms in fermented foods such as wine. Sulfites are safe for most people. A small segment of the population, however, has been found to develop shortness of breath or fatal shock shortly after exposure to these preservatives. Sulfites can provoke severe asthma attacks in sulfite-sensitive asthmatics. 

Sulphoraphane: Functional component of cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, kale, horseradish) which provides the health benefits of neutralizing free radicals and possibly reducing the risk of cancer. 

Supertaster: person with increased sensitivity to certain tastes that have specific roles in the food industry eg sommeliers

Surrogate microbe: Non-pathogenic species and strain responding to a particular treatment in a manner equivalent to a pathogenic species and strain. The surrogate allows biological verification of the treatment without introducing pathogens into a food processing area. For example, PA 3679 is used as a surrogate microbe for Clostridium botulinum in thermal process validation. Listeria innocua Is a possible surrogate for L. monocytogenes. 

Susceptors: Strips of material, usually metallized polyester film/paper laminate, attached inside a microwave package to concentrate heating over the foods that need to be browned. A de-metallizing process applied to the laminate is able to remove different amounts of the metal to ensure even cooking for different components or for different areas of a product. 

Sweet chocolate (Dark): Chocolate that contains a minimum of 15% chocolate liquor with varying amounts of sweeteners and cocoa butter. 

Sweetener: additive that replaces sugar to provide sweetness, usually with a lower energy content. Can be found in nature or produced synthetically

Synergistic effect: Effect achieved by the combination of two or more substances or organisms which neither alone could accomplish. 

Syneresis: release of moisture (Bleeding) contained within protein molecules that has contracted from a pre-formed gel due to mechanical damage or too firm gellification (shrinking). 

Syrup: Thick sticky viscous liquid made by dissolving sugar in boiling water



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