How Long Does Deli Meat Last (& Other Safety Tips for Buying Deli Meat) - Deli Meat 102
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How Long Does Deli Meat Last (& Other Safety Tips for Buying Deli Meat)
How Long Is Deli Meat Safe For?
Once you have brought the meat home, you should only keep it for 3-5 days max; beyond that, you run the risk of spoilage. When it was in its loaf form, the inside was protected from any germs, and it was kept, hopefully, at a controlled temperature. But now it has been sliced, exposing everything to possible bacteria, so be safe and throw out older cold cuts. Another thing to look for is any slime on the surface of the meat, this is a good indication that the meat experienced some significant temperature fluctuation and is no longer good to eat; again, just be safe and throw it out.
What Is The Danger?
The big thing we are trying to avoid here is any meat tainted with the listeria bacterium, which can cause the infection listeriosis. While very rarely deadly, listeriosis is a serious problem that has a variety of unpleasant effects on the human body. The quality control at the processing plant where your deli meat was made might be top-notch, with a USDA inspector on-site and watching the process to make sure the plant is producing safe food, but what happens once it gets to the deli or grocery store? Keeping an eye on the conditions where they are slicing your food is a good idea.
Simple Things To Look For
Are the employees wearing gloves? Does the slicer look clean? What is the temperature in the meat case? When the meat is removed from the meat case, how long is it left out?
Pre-Packaged Cold Cuts
When buying prepackaged cold cuts, keep an eye on how they are stored. Are they properly refrigerated? Is the packaging intact?
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