Proper Refrigeration Temperatures Important for Deli Meats, Lack of Facilities Pave Way for Food Myth in Developing Countries

Published Date : Dec 23, 2015

Whether piled on a party platter or on sandwiches, deli meats are all time favorites of Americans. Often known as “cold cuts”, the meats are pre-cooked and are either pre-packaged or made into slices at the deli counter of a grocer. 

Nevertheless, there are stringent packaging and refrigeration norms that are in place for these foods. This is because the chances of these foods getting contaminated by bacteria, viruses, or parasites are high, which can cause foodborne illness.

In spite of the world’s safest food supply chain in the U.S. – this can still cause infection for all individuals. As per the statistics of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, every year in the U.S., 48 million people fall sick, 128, 000 need hospitalization, and 3,000 die due to foodborne disease and infection in the country. Of these, many are older adults, children, or have weak immune systems to be able to fight infection normally. As foodborne diseases can be critical or can be sometimes fatal, it is vitally essential to practice safe-handling behaviors to avoid the condition.

Over the past few years, the demand for chilled and deli foods have been on a rise in the developing countries of Asia Pacific. However, lack of stringent mandates for the preservation and packaging of foods in countries such as India and Indonesia have been reasons for serious foodborne epidemics. Thus, individuals are not fully convinced to leave traditional food practices and adopt newer food habits of frozen packaged foods. 

Although refrigeration is counted as a foolproof method for the refrigeration of deli meats, few bacteria classes such as psychrophiles and psychotrophs breed even at refrigeration temperatures. These bacteria can grow optimally in the 15°C- 25°C range and can multiply slowly at temperatures as low as 5°C. 

For such reasons, the proper storage and the temperature of these facilities of deli meats is important. These foods that can be potentially hazardous, which are prepared in foodservice establishments such as the kitchen of schools, child-care centers and then frozen for later use, need to be date marked. For reasons of contamination, deli foods that are held beyond 24 hours need to have clear labeling that should say the date by which they should be consumed.