Mechanical deli slicers commonly used in retail and foodservice establishments to slice meats, cheeses and produce may become difficult or impossible to adequately clean and sanitize after a period of use.

Recent foodborne illness outbreaks have been associated with the accumulation of food soils and disease-causing microorganisms on areas of commercial deli slicers that are difficult to clean and sanitize.

These outbreaks have resulted in serious illnesses and hospitalizations.

There are many seams created between the numerous adjoining parts and components of a typical deli slicer. Sealants and gaskets are often used to seal these seams. These seams can become worn, degraded or removed as a result of the heavy use and cleaning regimens to which deli slicers are subjected.

As these seals and gaskets become degraded, spaces can be created that can trap debris and moisture, which can lead to areas that may not be adequately cleaned and sanitized under normal cleaning methods.

During routine inspections of retail and foodservice establishments:

  • Pay special attention to commercial deli slicers.
  • Examine the equipment for degraded, defective or worn parts.
  • If there are any signs of cracks, chips, deep scratches or loss of adhesion or if any seam or part is found defective or damaged, have the food establishment remove the slicer from service until repaired or replaced.
  • Stress that establishment managers need to contact the slicer manufacturer for repairs and maintenance; all repairs should be performed by the manufacturer’s authorized service representatives.
  • Check that the retail or foodservice establishments are following the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance.

Examples of commercial deli slicer components inaccessible under normal cleaning conditions:

  • Ring Guard Mount: Food soil accumulation at the ring guard mount.
  • Blade Guard: Food soil accumulation on the inside of the blade guard at the white plastic piece.
  • Slicer Handle: Surfaces under the slicer handle can accumulate food soil and debris and require monitoring to prevent build-up.