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The main use for food slicers are for cutting fine slices of cooked or raw meats, for fish, such as tuna and smoked salmon and other items such as cheese or where the ingredient is too big to fit in a mandolin. With cooked meats, the benefit is that whole cooked boneless joints can be used, giving a fresher, juicier slice and far cheaper than buying pre-sliced.
Expensive meats such as dry-cured hams can be cut as wafers for use in salads, as starters, part of a main course of for luxury sandwiches. A gravity slicer can also be used for cutting wafer thin slices of raw meat such as beef for producing items such as beef olives.
Food safety and food hygiene are extremely important issues with a food slicer. While cutting cooked meats without strong flavours will not give cross-contamination, after cutting highly spiced or garlicky meats, a careful wipe with a sterile cloth will keep following foods pure. A full cleaning cycle is essential between cutting raw and cooked food to prevent a serious risk of bacterial infection and a full cleaning must take place at the end of every kitchen service.
Slicers are extremely dangerous items of equipment and staff need structured training on how to use and clean them.
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