What Does FAT TOM Stand For?

FAT TOM is an acronym that stands for six conditions where harmful bacteria that lead to food poisoning thrive, providing foodservice workers with an easy way to remember that preventative practices can lower the risk of outbreaks in their establishments.

Bacteria thrive in moist environments. Their optimal growth occurs in foods with a high water activity level; dehydration methods like drying or canning can be effective ways of decreasing its presence.


Food safety should always be of primary concern when managing a food business or making homemade dishes at home, whether professionally or amateurishly. When food spoils, not only is it unpleasant for consumption; pathogenic bacteria may spread illness as well. By understanding the six conditions under which bacteria thrives, knowing these six conditions and taking appropriate action to keep your food safe can help ensure its future consumption.

FAT TOM stands for Food Acidity Temperature Oxygen Moisture; six conditions which promote foodborne pathogen growth. Such organisms have been responsible for numerous cases and outbreaks of foodborne illness in recent years; it’s simple to keep these harmful bacteria under control by following FAT TOM principles.

At the very least, it’s crucial that food be stored and cooked at the appropriate temperatures, while not being left sitting out for too long – this gives bacteria time to multiply and potentially make us sick.

Bacteria require constant nourishment in order to survive and multiply, which makes them particularly susceptible to growing in high protein foods such as meat, milk and eggs. They can also thrive in foods with a high water activity level (such as dried beans and rice) which remains for an extended period of time; such food preservation techniques such as vacuum sealing or canning also have low water activity levels.


Acidity is a medical condition in which stomach acid moves back up into the esophagus and causes discomfort or burning sensation in the lower chest area, nausea and stomach soreness, or other symptoms such as swallowing difficulties and soreness in other parts of the digestive tract. Over-the-counter antacids may help alleviate symptoms while diet can also play an integral part in treating acidity by eating smaller meals more frequently and not lying down immediately after eating a meal. Dietary changes such as eating smaller meals more frequently or eating smaller meals more frequently is recommended to both prevent and alleviate acidity from returning.

Food poisoning bacteria thrive under conditions created by six elements referred to in the FAT TOM acronym: Food, Acidity, Temperature, Time, Oxygen and Moisture. Adherence to these guidelines will ensure perishable foods remain safe for consumption.

Bacteria require nutrients to thrive, making foods high in proteins like meats, dairy products and fish ideal for their proliferation. Furthermore, fatty foods contain more water than other kinds of food items – leaving them more prone to spoilage than their counterparts.

Lengthy periods of exposure to room temperature food also has an impact on its safety, with different bacteria adapting better in acidic environments than others, with those that last the longest often being resistant to antibiotics and resistant to reduction by storage in cold temperatures such as refrigerator or freezer, or using canning or vacuum sealing methods as food preservation tools.


No matter if you own or work at a restaurant, or simply bring lunch from home to work every day, understanding FAT TOM is crucial to food safety. Its six conditions allow bacteria to flourish in food products and potentially lead to illness.

Temperature refers to food safety for storage, preparation and consumption in order to prevent bacteria growth that could make us sick. At-risk foods include meat, fish, shellfish eggs and dairy which may quickly become contaminated by bacteria if exposed for more than two hours to the temperature danger zone.

Acidity, time, oxygen and moisture are other key contributors to foodborne illness, along with protein-rich foods like meat, fish and dairy that are particularly prone to spoilage. Canned, vacuum sealed or cooked products may help remove excess oxygen from their food products which reduce bacterial growth rates.


No matter if you work in a restaurant, food truck, or your own kitchen – understanding why food spoils is an integral component to keeping customers safe. FAT TOM provides an easy way to remember six factors contributing to spoilage; making this tool indispensable to those working in food service industries.

Time was listed 124 times in the 2010 census. Time, established in New York City in 1923 by Henry Luce, is a weekly news magazine published worldwide with European edition based in London and Asian/South Pacific editions in Hong Kong and Sydney respectively.


Oxygen is a colorless and odorless gas that accounts for 21% of Earth’s atmosphere. As one of nature’s most abundant elements, oxygen makes up many other elements such as H2O, carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur oxides (SO2 and SO3), and nitrogen oxides (NO and NO). Oxygen has many chemical uses; its isotopes can be separated through physical, chemical or biological means.

Microorganisms can either be aerobic or anaerobic, meaning that they need oxygen in order to survive. Aerobic bacteria tend to be more likely to cause food spoilage than anaerobic microorganisms.

Bacteria thrive in environments with a high water activity level. Water activity (aw), can be used as a measurement of available free water in food products to provide space for bacteria to flourish; 0.85 or above water activity levels provide optimal conditions for their growth.

Photosynthesis generates singlet oxygen that plays a significant role in oxidizing polyunsaturated fats and proteins, leading to their peroxidation, which in turn results in lipid peroxidation – the precursor for aging and cell deterioration. Oxidized unsaturated fatty acids have also been linked to cardiovascular disease as well as atherosclerotic plaque formation. Oxygen forms an integral part of stratosphere’s protective ozone layer; unfortunately it’s being destroyed by air pollution from industrial and automobile emissions.


Moisture, or moisture content, is the measure of water present in a substance and plays an essential role in various natural and biological processes and functions. Moisture measurement instruments like moisture meters provide this service.

Moisture is essential to food safety as pathogenic bacteria thrive in moist environments, accounting for most instances of food poisoning. Pathogens require nutrients in order to survive and multiply quickly – especially protein-rich foods – along with stable conditions with high water activity levels for their proliferation. Therefore, foods which have been dehydrated such as cooked rice or dried beans have longer-lasting shelf lives due to this lack of moisture content in them.

Food service professionals must comprehend the principles underlying FAT TOM in order to keep their business running efficiently and successfully. Understanding what causes harmful bacteria to form is vital in protecting patrons from illness while preventing unnecessary expenses from cropping up. Spoilage is often obvious, with bad taste or pathogens clearly evident if any exist in food that has gone bad, so let’s learn more about FAT TOM’s six factors (Food Acidity Temperature Time Oxygen Moisture etc) that contribute towards food safety – Food Acidity Temperature Time Oxygen Moisture). Let us learn about them to better ensure proper implementation! The six principles are as follows. Food Acidity Temperature Time Oxygen Moisture

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