A cut above: Important purchasing considerations for manual deli slicers

Sliced meats and cheeses are a must-have for any commercial deli, which means deli slicers are too. The best manual slicing equipment makes it easier for customers to purchase the exact amount of product they require and prevent businesses from wasting money through lost yield.

Unfortunately, deli slicers can be a locus of risk at any foodservice establishment if not properly maintained or operated. While much of the responsibility falls on manufacturers to deliver a quality machine to businesses, supermarkets and grocery stores bear a portion of the burden as well. Keeping a few factors in mind when investing in deli slicers strikes a balance between these two interests, so deli workers and their employers can slice happy.

“Seals on slicing equipment degrades over time, increasing the risk of foodborne illness.”

‘Seamless’ cleaning with smarter slicers
Like everything else behind the deli counter, slicers must be regularly cleaned. Although a supermarket may observe the strictest sanitation protocols with its equipment, meat and cheese slicers can be difficult to properly clean by design. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, seals and gaskets on slicing equipment degrade over time, increasing the risk of foodborne illness from particles and moisture trapped in cracks and crevices. Try as they might, deli workers may find it impossible to truly clean worn-down slicing equipment.

As such, commercial investors should shop for two important features when purchasing new slicing equipment. First, find a slicer with minimal seams in the first place. That way, there are fewer places for bacteria to hide at the outset. Second, be sure to ask slicing equipment distributors about maintenance packages that cover seal and gasket repair. When a maintenance professional can regularly inspect and repair the few seams a manual slicer has, it not only extends the lifespan of the equipment, but ensures quality in the eyes – and stomachs – of customers.

Workplace injury avoidance by design
Cleaning a deli slicer completely requires operators to disassemble the machinery. That said, deconstructing a manual slicer for sanitation is a delicate and involved process, not to mention one that involves the handling of sharp components. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported at least 4,000 meat slicer-related injuries occurred in 2013 alone, costing workers their well-being and businesses both time and money.

Large thumb guards make manual slicing safer for deli equipment operators in the act, but what about cleaning? How can equipment operators avoid dangerous components when taking apart manual slicers. Certain models, like Bizerba brand slicers, are built with this safety concern in mind. The blades on its deli slicers are exposed at any point during the recommended cleaning process. Deli workers can therefore quickly and safely sanitize their equipment without running the risk of injury.