Food Safety Issues/Deli Sandwiches

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Question
I own a food trailer that I set up at Fairs.  I get inspected each and every fair by the Health Dept.  Different states have different opinions, all of which are very good concerning food safety.  My question is this, I am currently at a fair, and my inspectors informed me that the process I have been using for years is not good.  I pre-make all of my deli sandwiches every day and seal them in plastic sandwich bags.  All of which are food safety standard.  I was told today that if I seal them, I can only keep them for one day and would have to discard them each night.  I have been doing this for 4 years now.  I was told it locks out the oxygen and can cause bacteria to grow more rapidly.????  I slice all of the luncheon meats right in the trailer and discard after 5-7 days, depending on the meat for fear of Lysteria.  I am a food safety certified manager and thought I knew all of the rules.  I passed my test with flying colors, but the government keeps changing the rules.  Even my green tomatoes now have to remain refrigerated after slicing because they are now considered potentially hazardous foods.  I would really appreciate your answer on this, the Health Dept says they are going to check on it too, but I am so confused.  I thought sealing the sandwiches was safer since your not allowing any air to get into the sandwich????

Answer
I alos don't understand the concern for sealing sandwiches in plastic bags. As ong as the sandwiches are kept refrigerated below 41F I don't understand the concern. Sliced tomatoes as you pointed out are now considered potentially hazardous. I was involved in a food poisoning outbreak which was found to be caused by sliced tomatoes so I get that risk concern. Ask your inspector, or better yet call his office and ask why he is considering sandwiches in plastic at risk. He should be able to explain this to you. First time I ever heard of this. Wish I could be more help.

Food Safety Issues

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Carl LaFrate

Expertise

I can answer food safety questions relative to food processing, retail food and food salvage after a catastrophic event such as a hurricane, flood, ammonia leak or fire. Questions related to HACCP, Regulatory, GFSI, SQF, BRC, liability issues, contamination events, pest infestation, pest control methodology,food safety defense, pathogen prevention such as L. Monocytogenes control in food processing and retail, any subject related to food safety including at home issues.

Experience

30 years experience as a food safety consultant working for the top food processors, food retailers and insurance companies that write liability policies related to food processing, storage and distribution. My firm employees 6 full time food safety auditors. I work for top law firms throughout the USA and am a staff consultant for Douglas Peterson and Associates, one of the top forensic engineering firms in the world. I also work with Risk Solutions International, a global leader in risk management.

Organizations
New York State Association for Food Protection, past president, executive board Central Atlantic States Association of Food and Drug Officials

Publications
Progressive Grocer Magazine Smart Money Magazine Private Label Buyer Magazine Supermarket News Natural Foods Merchandiser Magazine Food Service Director Magazine NYS Association for Food Protection Annual Report NYS Association for Food Protection Newsletter

Education/Credentials
Syracuse University, Microbiology/Biology NYS College of Environmental Sciences, Plant and Environmental Biology Cornell University, Food and Dairy Processing

Awards and Honors
Wm. Hickey Award (2006), NYS Association for Food Protection, for contributions in the field of food safety and sanitation New York State Integrated Pest Management Award (2007), NYS Assoc. for Food Protection, for contributions in the filed of integrated pest management.

Past/Present Clients
Pillsbury, Agri-Mark, Associated Grocers, Beatrice Foods, Cargill, Southern Cold Storage, Quaker, Ben & Jerry’s, Delverde Pasta (Italy), New York Bakery, Cabot Cheese, Hazelwood Farms, General Mills, Price Chopper Supermarkets, P&C Supermarkets, Great American Supermarkets, Tops Markets, Big M Supermarkets, Big Bear Supermarkets, Frito-Lay Distribution Centers, IBP, Excell, Eckerd Drugs, Rite Aid Drug Stores, Fay’s Drugs, Carl’s Drugs, AWI Wholesale Food Distribution, McLane Food Distributors, Golub Food Distribution, many supermarket chains (many include large scale specialty food service operations), Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Darden Foods (Red Lobster, Olive Garden), LSG Skychefs (Germany, US), Glen Mills Schools, Cornell University, Crider Poultry, Caesar’s Palace, The Oneida Indian Nation, Taylor Meat Packing, UCB Packaging Films

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