July is Deli Sandwich Month, a time for picnics and outdoor fun. Your deli can be part of the celebration by providing delicious sandwiches to all your customers.
However, it won’t be much of a celebration if your food makes your customers sick. Deli meats are a major source of LM (Listeria monocytogenes), the third leading cause of foodborne illness deaths. As a deli manager, you have it in your hands to make sure the food coming out of your deli is safe and sanitary.
How can you do this? It starts with training all your employees in safe food handling. As the manager in charge, you are responsible for your employees and making sure they have the necessary knowledge and the proper food safety training.
Here are some key tasks that you need to make sure all your employees are doing:
- Washing hands. Deli employees need to wash their hands whenever they re-enter the deli after taking a break, being in another part of the store, going to the bathroom or arriving at work. They should also wash their hands before putting on new gloves and before handling any meat, cheese, or pre-prepared food.
- Wearing disposable gloves. Each deli clerk needs to put on a new pair of disposable gloves after handling any meat or cheese.
- Cleaning the slicer. The FDA Food Code recommends that slicers are taken apart and cleaned every four hours. Make sure you have a written slicer-cleaning policy. Environmental health specialists conducted a study that found less than half of the delis they visited were following this code.
- Keeping the refrigerator cool. The deli refrigerator in which deli meats and ready-to-eat foods are stored needs to be kept at 41 degrees F or colder. Keep a written record of refrigerator temperatures. Researchers found that 1 in 6 delis had their refrigerators too warm.
- Using paper to weigh meat. After the meat is sliced, it should be put on a fresh sheet of paper before being weighed on the scale.
- Monitoring food. Keep track of how long hot food is kept in the self-service case and make sure it doesn’t cool down below 135 degrees F. Keep cold sandwiches at temperatures of 41 degrees F or colder.
It’s a lot to keep track of, but those environmental health specialists who conducted studies of delis learned something about which ones had the safest food. They were the ones that had managers certified in food safety, that required managers to have food safety training, and those with employees who were knowledgeable about food safety. That’s something you can make sure gets done.
Have you completed your grocery store manager food safety training from the National Registry? If you haven’t, now is the perfect time to get it done. You can study on your own, connect with a local trainer or take an online course. There are also plenty of ways to take your certification exam—from a trainer near you, at a Pearson VUE Training Center, through a proctored online portal or at a secure testing kiosk. To find out more, visit https://www.nrfsp.com/grocery
If you have already earned your certification, make sure you are proudly displaying your certificate and the National Registry seal where your customers can see it and know that they can buy with confidence from you and celebrate Deli Sandwich Month all month long!