What Does FAT TOM Stand For?

Lisa 6 months ago 0 8

Food spoilage can ruin a meal and potentially harm health, but foodservice professionals can safeguard their product by following the FAT TOM principles.

Bacteria thrive on perishable foods, making them perfect breeding grounds for pathogenic strains that cause illness and disease. To survive and proliferate effectively, bacteria require six essential conditions – food, acidity, temperature, time, oxygen and moisture – in order to thrive.


No matter if you work in a restaurant or make meals at home, understanding food spoilage is an integral component. Not only can spoiled food taste unpleasant and cause illness; learning the FAT TOM principles may help avoid these potentially hazardous foods altogether.

FAT TOM is a mnemonic device that describes six conditions under which bacteria–which are known to cause illness and other foodborne illnesses–will thrive. While bacterial growth is commonplace in restaurants and commercial kitchens, applying FAT TOM principles could greatly decrease your chances of contamination of foods.

Bacteria require nutrients in order to thrive and prefer moist environments for growth. Because of this, foods with high water activity and moisture levels–such as fruits, vegetables and starches–are particularly vulnerable to spoilage from bacteria. Protein-rich foods like meats, milk and eggs also pose risk.

Some types of bacteria require oxygen for survival while others thrive without it. Because certain strains of bacteria are dangerous when exposed to oxygen, it’s best to store foods in an atmosphere which restricts their access. Vacuum sealing or canning are two effective means of doing this while dehydration has also long been used as a method to preserve meats and fish for generations. Jerky production uses this process and dehydrates protein without increasing exposure to pathogens like bacteria.


Acidity occurs when there is too much hydrochloric acid in the stomach. It can result in throat pain and chest burning sensation, nausea and bad breath as well as potential permanent damage to organs in your system. Treatment options for acidity can range from over-the-counter medication to making lifestyle changes and diet modifications to alleviate its symptoms.

Bacteria that cause most foodborne illnesses require acids for growth. Acid in food helps break down proteins and provide bacteria with essential nutrients – this explains why protein-rich foods like meat, dairy products, fish and eggs tend to have more opportunities for bacterial proliferation than fruits, vegetables or starches.

Temperature can also contribute to food spoilage. Germs that cause food poisoning thrive in warm environments; they multiply more quickly there than at cooler ones. The danger zone for harmful bacteria lies between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit – as long as food remains there, the greater its chance of contamination with pathogens.

Bacteria require oxygen to live and reproduce. They thrive best in moist environments with high water activity; foodservice workers can reduce moisture in foods through methods like canning and vacuum sealing, as well as dehydrating techniques; this explains why dried beans and rice last so long on store shelves; thus it’s imperative for them to adhere to FAT TOM principles when serving customers.


Temperature is one of the six key conditions necessary for harmful bacteria to thrive and spread, placing consumers at risk of foodborne illness. Mnemonic devices like FAT TOM can help people remember these principles for safe food handling and storage.

Temperature refers to the measure of hotness or coldness of an object or its surroundings, and is an attribute of matter along with pressure and density. Temperature differs from these other properties in that its intensity depends on how much matter there is present in a system compared with mass or volume properties of matter such as mass or volume.

Temperature plays a pivotal role in food safety; foods within their “danger zone” are most likely to contain harmful bacteria and should be consumed as soon as they reach this range. As long as food stays in this dangerous zone, more time for bacteria to multiply; it is therefore imperative that consumers know the temperature of their food at all times and use thermometers on a regular basis.

Furthermore, some types of bacteria thrive in an oxygen-free environment, making proper food storage and preparation even more crucial in order to minimize spoilage risks. Canning or vacuum sealing techniques help eliminate oxygen from foodstuffs, further decreasing chances of harmful bacteria forming within.


Oxygen, with the chemical symbol O and atomic number 8, is an element that plays an essential role in most organisms’ existence. Reacting readily with all other elements, it produces compounds such as water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), organic compounds and metal oxides such as sulfates, carbonates, aluminates and phosphates. Furthermore, oxygen forms an oxy-acetylene flame used for welding at lower altitudes; at higher elevations its air forms an ozone layer that absorbs harmful ultraviolet radiation from sunlight.

Oxygen is an integral factor for foodborne pathogens to thrive and cause spoilage, making oxygen an essential factor when it comes to spoilage in food service settings. These pathogens, often called foodborne pathogens, thrive under conditions which support their proliferation – such as food type, acidity level, temperature setting, timer setting, oxygen content level and moisture content of storage space for prepared or stored products in commercial settings. In order to decrease contamination risks these six factors should be controlled during food preparation and storage in commercial settings.

Oxygen is abundant in Earth’s atmosphere, accounting for 21 percent of its mass. Living cells rely on oxygen for oxidizing carbohydrates and releasing energy, produced through photosynthesis in plants, burning of fossil fuels, electrolysis of water to make acetic acid and photosynthesis in plants. Oxygen also plays an essential role in air separation processes for steel blast furnaces as a key ingredient of air separation processes, ammonia production processes and manufacturing of many chemicals such as ethylene oxide and oxy-acetylene welding gas production processes.


Moisture content in food is an extremely crucial aspect of its safety; its moisture levels determine when and how food spoils, leading to spread of dangerous bacteria that lead to foodborne illnesses.

Bacteria require water in order to thrive, making moist environments such as food an ideal breeding ground. They also need access to constant sources of nourishment – which explains why protein-rich food sources tend to provide ideal conditions for their proliferation.

Foodservice workers need to remember the six conditions which allow foodborne pathogens like bacteria to survive and grow in order for FAT TOM’s principles to apply effectively, especially since they will likely handle and store products which could contain these dangerous pathogens.

First step to stop bacteria from multiplying is removing moisture from food products, either by drying, adding salt or sugar which binds with free water molecules, or both. With moisture removed, food becomes much lower risk as far as safety risks, last longer, and maintain its flavor when cooked – this explains the widespread popularity of dehydrated food among culinary schools worldwide since their creation. Dehydrated foods have long been staples in culinary school kitchens around the globe since dehydration made its debut years ago! These dried goods last years before losing flavor when heated when cooked; dehydrated products retain both qualities simultaneously!

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