Proper care, inspection and maintenance of deli slicers are critical to maintaining sanitary conditions for retail food safety. Frequent and thorough cleaning and sanitizing; inspecting and maintaining deli slicers is essential to ensure consumer food safety. Deli slicers are among the most difficult to clean and are one of the most microbiologically hazardous of all equipment used in retail food service. Because of their physical complexity, hazards associated with blade sharpness and their difficulty to clean, deli slicers require extra time in their care and maintenance to keep them safe and clean. All food establishments should follow the manufacturer's instruction for cleaning and maintenance procedures. If cleaning and maintenance procedures are not readily available, contact the product manufacturer or visit their website.
Many slicers use sealants to seal seams and spaces between assembled parts, such as handles. With long term use and repeated cleaning, cracks, shrinkage or loss of the sealant may occur resulting in loss of seam integrity. This can result in food materials and micro organisms entering the space behind the seal which creates a potential food safety hazard. All seams on the slicers should be routinely inspected for any signs of cracks, chips, deep scratches or loss of adhesion. If any seam or part is found defective or damaged, the slicer should be removed from service until repairs and maintenance is completed.
The deli slicer seams should be inspected with parts in place and fully assembled. If a seal is compromised, contact the manufacturer, equipment distributor or authorized service representative. In some cases, repair kits are available from the original manufacturer. All repairs should be performed by the manufacturer's authorized service representatives.
Deli slicers certified by NSF International are evaluated to meet the requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 8, Commercial Powered Food Preparation Equipment. This standard details the minimum requirements for the materials, design, and construction of new, power operated, commercial food preparation equipment. The Standard does not establish requirements for cleaning procedures or cleaning frequency. Proper care and maintenance of deli slicers is essential to ensure that this equipment is capable of operating in a sanitary manner throughout their useful life.
The required frequency of cleaning and sanitizing; inspection and maintenance may vary depending on use conditions and the types of foods being sliced. If more detailed information is needed, consult with the local health department for additional recommendations on frequency of cleaning and sanitizing. Another valuable resource is Sections 4-602.11 and 4-702.11 of the 2005 FDA Model Food Code.
Ron Grimes, RS, MPH, DAAS
Manager, Environmental Health Programs
789 Dixboro Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
800-NSF-MARK (800-673-6275) x6863