Listeria monocytogenes is commonly found in retail delicatessen environments. Proper types and concentrations of sanitizers must be used to eliminate this pathogen from surfaces and reduce the consumer's risk for infection. In 2012, the Environmental Health Specialists Network of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention completed a study on practices in retail delis that can help prevent cross-contamination and growth of L. monocytogenes. The present study focuses on the sanitizing solution used in delis, given its importance to cleaning and reducing pathogen contamination in retail food environments. We identified deli, manager, and worker characteristics associated with use of improper concentrations of sanitizing solution to wipe down food contact surfaces; 22.8% of sanitizing solutions used for wiping food contact surfaces were at improper concentrations. Independent delis were more likely to use improper concentrations of sanitizing solution, as were delis that sold fewer chubs (plastic tubes of meat) per week. Use of improper sanitizing solution concentrations was associated with required food safety training for managers; additional analyses suggest that this relationship is significant for independent but not chain delis. Cleaning and sanitizing must be emphasized in food safety efforts focused on independent and smaller delis.

  • In 22.8% of delis, improper sanitizing solutions were used to wipe food contact surfaces.

  • Food safety programs should perhaps focus on sanitizing education for smaller delis.

  • More manager experience was associated with use of improper sanitizing solutions.

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