While the business of running a delicatessen or deli department is substantially different than running a food processing plant, there are some real similarities as well. Proper employee hygiene, good sanitary practices, including a rigorously designed and followed cleaning and sanitation schedule are important parts of any food processing or deli sanitation program. Appropriate and intelligent use of sanitation chemicals are two major ways the two disciplines overlap. On the other hand, deli managers face many unique challenges.
Given all the potential causes of food-borne illness, including temperature abuse, personal hygiene issues, and cross-contamination, more violations mean an increased risk of a food-borne problem. The slicer is the most difficult item to clean and the most microbiologically hazardous. Proper sanitation and maintenance of the slicer is time well spent in the prevention of food-borne illness.
Salmonella outbreaks in Georgia and Washington, which received a great deal of media attention, in addition to a spate of Listeria outbreaks linked to slicer sanitation, are prompting a fresh look at this piece of retail food equipment. Unlike most other powered deli equipment, the slicer is used intermittently throughout the day. It is used under ambient temperature conditions, at random intervals, often without even basic cleaning throughout the day.
On the other hand, mixers, grinders, food processors, can openers and the like are mostly used during food preparation and should be cleaned after use. Even soft-serve ice cream machines have a finite operating time, requiring a consistent cleaning schedule that does not interfere with the normal business day. In addition, all its food-contact parts are kept under constant refrigeration.
Your customers expect safe and clean food and your business will suffer, perhaps catastrophically, if you do not ensure proper deli sanitation. Because your deli food will not receive any additional cooking before it gets to the consumer, all food contact surfaces in the deli must be clean and frequently sanitized. Slicers should be cleaned and sanitized at least every 4 hours if in continual use. Scoops or utensils not stored in the food within the deli case should also be cleaned every 4 hours or sooner. Surfaces within the deli, including counters and scales should follow the same 4-hour rule for cleaning. Sanitizer strength and temperature should follow the manufacturer's labeling.
FSS Food Safety is your one stop shop for ensuring your customers a clean and safe food environment. We teach you how to properly clean your food and the surfaces and tools that you use to prepare your food. There is no reason for not having a clean work environment in your deli. FSS provides the proper deli sanitation products, equipment, and procedures training to ensure your products are safe.
Food Safety Sanitation
1735 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103