Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 30, 2009
Publication Date: March 3, 2010
Citation: Hwang, C. 2010. Delicatessen salads in "refrigerated ready-to-eat foods: microbial concerns and control measures". In: Hwang, C.A., Huang, L., editors.Ready-to-Eat-Foods: Microbial Concerns and Control Measures. New York, NY: CRC Press. p. 61-80. Technical Abstract: Deli-type salads are in the category of refrigerated ready-to-eat food products. They are available where foods are sold or served and are becoming increasingly popular food items due to their variety, availability, and convenience. It is estimated that the annual consumption of deli salads is 5.63 billion servings in the U.S. alone. The potential for deli salads to become contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms can be high during preparation and serving of the products. Handling of products by customers after purchase may also lead to further contamination or may allow contaminated microorganisms to grow in the salads. Since salads are consumed without prior heating or cooking, contamination with pathogenic microorganisms is a health hazard. Outbreaks of foodborne illness have been linked to the consumption of coleslaw, potato salad, and tuna salad. Sources of microbial contamination mainly come from salad ingredients or from cross contamination from the environment. In general, deli salads manufactured or prepared with mayonnaise/salad dressing and ingredients of reasonable good microbiological quality are pathogen-free without any food safety concerns. To ensure the microbiological quality and safety of deli salads from manufacturing to points of service, the manufacturers must following good manufacturing practices, as well as good sanitation and product handling practices to minimize cross-contamination. In the marketplace and consumers’ homes, deli salads must be kept at refrigerated temperature and handled hygienically to prevent cross-contamination by other food products and the environment.