How does Food Degrades?
How does Food Degrades?

Food degradation and rotting are not accidents. It happens on its own accord. Knowing the potential causes will help us prevent spoiling and preserve food quality. Among the elements that influence food deterioration are:

  • Microorganisms
  • Enzymes
  • Air-Light Rodents, Parasites, Insects, and Other Creatures
  • Physical Injury
  • Temperature
  • Time


Food issues can be caused by a wide variety of bacteria. Pathogenic bacteria are those that can result in food-borne disease. Most of these microbes do not thrive at refrigerator or freezer temperatures, however they do grow best at room temperature (60-90°F).

Foods may develop pathogenic germs without any discernible odour, look, or flavour alteration. Some types of bacteria, yeasts, and moulds that cause spoilage can thrive in temperatures as low as 40°F.

Food that contains spoiling bacteria typically has a bad appearance and/or smell. Go to the Food Poisoning/Foodborne Illness section to learn more about harmful bacteria.


Fruits and vegetables ripen due to enzymes, which are naturally occurring compounds in diet. Changes in texture, colour, and flavour are caused by enzymes. For instance, a banana's texture changes as it progresses from green to yellow to brown, in addition to the fruit's colour. Uncooked, frozen corn on the cob may eventually taste like the cob. The outcome of enzyme activity is this.

When air and food components interact chemically, air oxidation, a process that results in unfavourable colour, flavour, and nutritional alterations, is the end result. Oxidation is the cause of rancidity in dietary lipids. Antioxidants like ascorbic acid or citric acid can be used to prevent discoloration of light-colored fruits before freezing. Packaging that is airtight and vapor-proof helps to lessen oxidation issues.


Vitamin and colour loss could occur as a result of light exposure. The oxidation of fats could possibly potentially be caused by light.

Rodents, Parasites, and Other Creatures, including Insects
These animals must eat to exist, and they tamper with food to make it more susceptible to further degeneration.

Physical Injury

On uncooked vegetables, bruises and cracks leave places where bacteria can easily flourish. Food that has been improperly packaged, dented cans, and damaged packaging all provide as entry points for bacteria, air, light, and critters. Food quality and safety will last longer if it is handled gently.


Temperature Food deteriorates more quickly at warmer temperatures, which influences how long it can be stored. The following temperatures are advised for storage areas:

Cupboard/Pantry 50-70°F \sRefrigerator 34-40°F 0°F or lower Freezer
At normal temperature, pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms can develop quickly. Foods should be kept in cooler temperatures to decrease microbial development and the enzymatic and oxidation processes. Learn more about temperatures and microorganisms.


.Microorganisms require time to develop and reproduce. Time is also needed for the development of other processes, such as oxidation and enzyme activity. Purchase perishable items in moderation, especially, to help prevent long-term storage.

Food that contains spoiling bacteria typically has a bad appearance and/or smell. Go to the Food Poisoning/Foodborne Illness section to learn more about harmful bacteria.

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