Why You Should Be Wary Of The Grocery Store Deli, According To Reddit

Many Americans have grown up eating deli meats. Ham sandwiches, pepperoni on pizza, and fried bologna have long been familiar fare to families from coast to coast. And most were blissfully unaware that they should be leery of their processed meats — no matter how convenient and tasty they were. 

Fast forward to the 2010s and 2020s, eras in which the general public has become keenly aware of the dangers lurking behind their supermarket deli counters. While that slice of lunch meat might look benign, Consumer Reports warns that the regular consumption of cold cuts (even in small amounts) raises your chances of getting cancer. Plus, who can forget all the times that processed meats have been recalled due to fears of listeria?

Even if your honey-baked ham hasn't been recalled, the Mayo Clinic warns that those who are pregnant and people with compromised immune systems should be extra cautious when it comes to deli meats. ABC News adds that a joint research project by the FDA, CDC, and USDA determined that cold cuts are "high risk" for transmitting listeriosis, partially because this bacteria loves refrigerator temperatures. Apparently, we should also be afraid of the meat slicer. According to the FDA, these tools can be hard to sanitize, resulting in several outbreaks of foodborne sicknesses and hospitalizations. That meaty sandwich probably doesn't look so good now, does it?

What happens when you add poor food handling into the mix? A group of Redditors weighed in on this issue. Vehemently. 

Your cold cuts may have been mishandled

If you're a regular consumer of deli meats, a conversation on Reddit's r/kroger thread may make you rethink this choice. After all, who better to reveal the surprising truth of your grocery store's deli counter than an employee? When u/AbstractPhenom shared that the woman who had trained her on the delicatessen counter at Kroger "dropped raw chicken on the floor, rinsed it off and threw it in the flour," comments poured in. The "five-second" rule seems to be commonplace as another commenter claimed to have witnessed a worker drop bologna on the floor and put it back in the deli case.  

And it gets worse. One former Kroger deli worker maintained that she quit because a coworker refused to wear gloves when making sandwiches and even licked the spoons that were used in the salad cooler. Another alleged that "The people in the sushi part of our deli never wash their hands after they use the bathroom." As the Cleveland Clinic points out, the CDC warns that "Salmonella, E.coli, and norovirus" can wind up on your paws in the restroom. If you don't wash your hands, you will contaminate the things you touch — like your trusting customer's deli meats. 

With so much that can happen to your deli meats from the manufacturing plant to their display case, you may be less enthusiastic about that piled-high cold cut sandwich. How about a PB&J, instead? Well, about that Jif peanut butter recall ...