FAQs

Is deli meat processed? What deli meats are not processed?

All deli meat is processed at meat processing facilities under microbiologically sanitary conditions (USDA-FSIS 2012a). Meats that have been smoked, salted, cured, dried or contain chemical preservatives are considered processed. The purpose of processing is to improve the eating quality, value and convenience of products but the amount of processing involved can vary, depending on the product.

Can you eat deli meat while pregnant?

Many health agencies are advising pregnant women to avoid eating deli meats until after their pregnancy because pregnant women are more susceptible to listeriosis (the illness from ingesting the bacteria, Listeria). Listeria is a type of bacteria that can be found in certain foods, although rare, and can cause problems for pregnant women and their baby.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises that people at higher risk for getting sick with Listeria, which includes pregnant women, avoid eating deli meats unless heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot just before serving.

Can babies eat deli meat?

In the absence of any official guideline, it’s probably best for parents to consult with their child’s pediatrician on the ideal time to introduce deli meats to their infant or toddler. To reduce the risk of choking, deli meats should be finely diced when they are introduced.

Can you eat deli cheese while pregnant?

Most cheese you order sliced at the deli counter are cheeses made with pasteurized milk. Pasteurization of milk kills Listeria, so when in doubt, read the label for “made with pasteurized milk.”

Soft cheeses made with unpasteurized or raw milk, although rare, has been linked to the Listeria bacteria. Due to this risk, the CDC recommends pregnant women avoid unpasteurized soft cheese, including feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses and soft Mexican-style cheeses such as queso fresco, queso blanco and panela (queso panela).

Do delis use the same slicer for meat and cheese?

At Jewel-Osco, we happily accommodate our community’s practices and dietary needs. Our deli has designated slicers for cheese, ham/turkey and beef. However, if a slicer goes down, our deli may slice products on the same machine.

Please let our deli team know how we can help, whether it’s having our slicer cleaned before your product gets sliced or using a particular slicer that is designated to one type of product. If you have any questions, speak with our deli experts about our process.

Can dogs eat deli meat?

Did your dog swipe a slice of deli meat while you weren’t looking? Good news: dogs can eat deli meat in small quantities, but due to the sodium content, fat content and additives, deli meat is not a healthy long-term snack for your canine. If you have questions, be sure to talk to your trusted veterinarian or pet care provider.

Can cats eat deli meat?

While it’s suggested that occasional nibbles of deli meat (like ham) is fine for your feline friends, it should be offered in moderation since it contains higher levels of sodium for cats.  As always, it's best to serve your pets a well-balanced diet and consult with your vet if you have any questions.

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