When operating a restaurant, delicatessen or even in your own kitchen, a meat slicer is a must-have for food processing. The cutting blade can be set to varying thicknesses, and the unit can be used to slice many types of meats and vegetables. Meat slicer maintenance requires safe handling, usage and storage of the equipment.
Meats are perishable foods that easily breed many forms of bacteria and other microorganisms. Small pieces of meat or other sliced foods usually get caught in and collect between the blade and the slicing machine of a meat slicer. If left for a period of time, microorganisms will grow in and around the meat particles, posing a health risk for the foods sliced thereafter on the unclean machine.
Meat slicer maintenance is about stabilizing the sanitary processing of sliced meats. When a meat slicer is regularly cleaned, harmful microorganisms do not have the chance to populate the meat slicer's surfaces.
Clean and Sanitize
During active use of a meat slicer, the machine must be cleaned at least every four hours, and after each use if the machine is used only on occasion. Do not leave a great deal of time between meat slicing without sanitizing your slicer.
Follow your machine's instructions on how to handle, operate and clean your meat slicer. Protect your hands from injury by wearing gloves that resist cutting, and do not operate the machine with distractions. Pay special attention to clean the entire surface area of the meat slicer, as well as underneath it and the entire counter that it rests on. Some parts of the meat slicer may have to be disassembled for proper cleaning.
It is recommended by government agencies, including the Department of Health and Community Services of Canada, to unplug the machine and set the meat slicer blade all the way down to zero to recess the blade's sharp edge into the machine during cleaning. Clean all of the meat slicer parts, including the handles, sides and underneath, with very warm or hot water and a food-grade detergent. Rinse the machine well.
Sanitize the meat slicer and allow the sanitizer time to dry on its surface. Food-safe sanitizer includes the special food-grade formulations of iodine, chlorine or quaternary ammonium mixed with water at least 113-degrees F. Reassemble its parts once the machine is dry.
Thoroughly wash your hands and wear gloves prior to handling the meat slicer, the meat and the counter. Insert the meat properly into the machine, set the blade to the correct thickness and use the push guard to protect your hands as you slice the meat.
Do not respond to anyone while operating the machine. Rather, stop the machine if you must deal with something else. Once your slicing job is complete, set the blade to zero and clean the machine. It is better to clean the machine after each use.
Lock the blade when storing the meat slicer. The meat slicer may also be stored disassembled, as long as the blade is protected and secured. Cover the meat slicer to protect it from airborne dust. Store in a safe and dry place away from the high-traffic areas.