Supermarket Perimeter - November 2020 - 58

SPOTLIGHT

A guide to sandwich food safety

WE ALWAYS TEND TO THINK
that sandwiches are low risk
and can be left out for as long
as is needed. Unfortunately,
sandwiches are much riskier than
we think they are.
There is a microbiological risk
in sandwich making that affects
sandwich food safety. In reality, it
is the sandwich fillings that create
the risk. Sandwich fillings are
perishable, uncooked products
that usually undergo no heating
or sanitizing.
Let's consider the most
common fillings:
* lettuce
* cheese
* cucumbers
* chicken
* mayonnaise
* deli meats
Each of these foods has
at some stage or another
been implicated in food
poisoning outbreaks. Lettuce
and cucumbers are the most
common foods that carry E.coli
O157:H7, which is the pathogenic
strain of E.coli that causes
internal hemorrhagic bleeding of
the gut.
58 - NOVEMBER 2020

This type of bacteria occurs
naturally in the soil and can cause
contamination from unwashed
vegetables.
Chicken, mayo and deli
meats have been implicated
in serious cases of Listeriosis,
Salmonellosis and a number
of cross-contamination cases
involving Campylobacter. It
then seems strange that we
would consider sandwiches
as low-risk foods. There are
definite microbiological risks
that can affect sandwich food
safety. Adding to the concerns
are how sandwiches are treated
during preparation and display.
Sandwiches are usually prepared
in large portions.
Depending on the amount
prepared this can usually take
up to two hours or more.
This already means that these
fillings have been at ambient
temperature for a long period.
Sandwiches are usually
prepared by hand. How often
would the chef wash their hands
between handling the different
food groups? Sandwiches are
then plated, covered and then left

out until needed. When serving
sandwiches these are also
usually hand dished. Meaning
more opportunity for crosscontamination. Let's consider
these items in terms of a salad.
By law, salads must be held and
displayed below 5° C (41 °F).
This is because of the potential
risks of allowing bacteria to
grow to high levels causing
food poisoning. Salad items are
hardly washed before use and
never cooked.
Like most hygiene and food
safety requirements, food
preparation requires planning
and forethought. In this case,
a few recommendations to be
considered.
Sandwich fillings should be
pre-prepared, kept in a fridge
until ready to put together and
serve. This means slicing the
cheese, portioning the lettuce,
cutting the cucumbers, etc.
Sandwiches should be
displayed cold, as you would with
salads, yet the bread presents
difficulties in doing so, which
generally relates to quality.
The danger zone for the

supermarketperimeter.com

growth of bacteria is between 20
- 45 degrees C (68 - 113 degrees
F). This is the range at which
food-related bacteria grow most
rapidly. At the very least, all foods
must be kept out of this range.
From a real risk perspective,
cold foods - in this case
sandwiches - only start to show
risk once above 10 degrees C (50
degrees F). Bacteria, in general,
will not grow or will at least be
minimized within this range.
This does mean that it is timedependent, meaning that bacteria
will eventually grow below 10
degrees C (50 degrees F) after a
certain period.
Finished products should be
transported, distributed and
displayed below 5 °C (41 °F)
in order to protect them from
contamination and deterioration.
To prevent deterioration, the
distribution and sale of finished
products should be carried out in
a first-in-first-out basis.
Hygiene Food Safety is
an organization devoted to
educating professionals and
consumers about food safety best
practices.

MARA ZEMGALIETE - STOCK.ADOBE.COM

by Hygiene Food Safety


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Supermarket Perimeter - November 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Supermarket Perimeter - November 2020

Supermarket Perimeter - November 2020 - 1
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