Keeping your deli display case clean is only part of the food safety battle. In reality, there are a variety of best practices to implement in your deli foodservice operation that can ensure the safety of your customers and the overall quality of your deli meats.
According to the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA), there are five important considerations for processing, storing, and serving deli meats. Let’s take a closer look:
Deli meats and sausages should be stored at or below 41º F. In reality, meat should avoid prolonged exposure to the “danger zone,” which is between 41º F and 135 º F according to the IDDBA. Please keep in mind that this temperature range, as well as the period of time that food can be exposed to it, will vary according to the source. The USDA, for example, has different standards for the “danger zone.” Consider all sources before determining your storage plan.
When meat is not being displayed in your deli display case, the IDDBA recommends it be stored at least six inches off the floor of your walk-in. Don’t lie. Store it high.
When opening deli-ready poultry packs, make sure the amount of purge (or moisture) is at a normal level. Excessive liquid should be reported to supervisors or even to product vendors or distributors.
Deli meats should be covered for overnight storage to prevent them from drying out. Make sure all surfaces that have been cut are covered with a full layer of deli wrap or film.
In the morning before serving customers, “face” all deli meats by cutting a ¼-inch slice from the main slab of meat. Make sure you use a clean, sanitized slicer.