Cautionary tale of cheap deli meat(s)

A friend of mine has taken pandemic-employment at a regional chain convenience store / deli / fast food establishment. This is a very well known chain and he sent me this video of him after opening a new package of “all natural” turkey breast. He said as soon as he opened it it looked odd and as he touched it was like clay.

Most likely it wasn’t stored properly either at his location or during delivery and the gelatin used to mold it together was compromised. (that’s my unofficial explanation)

(I do vouch for the authenticity of the video)



As consumers we rely on the integrity of those in the service chain to recognize and appropriately address bad product. Kudos to your friend.


I don’t understand processed turkey anyway.
It never evokes Thanksgiving.
More like detested school lunches.

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While the product in the video is indeed gross, we should all pay attention to the stuffs in our fridge, both as we add them and as they accumulate. Always visually inspect and certainly sniff. And, when necessary, toss.


When you have a turkey carcass with a few random scraps left on it, you make soup.

Turkey processing plants have thousands of turkey carcasses with random scraps left, they’re not interested in making soup - and picking those bits of meat off by hand is much too slow.

I guess now you understand.

Rotate your stock. Label, label, label. Hide your Sharpies - wait, wrong audience.

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I would like a thread about how TO buy “deli meat”, but no, I don’t want to start it. We tend to use it from time to time, and I can be choosy, but I seem to remember I shouldn’t keep it for long. So we probably spend too much, and toss too much. Maybe I can find an old thread.


The most basic rule in my mind for this stuff is the huge difference between an opened package and a package that still has its original seal intact.

Once you open it, you must eat it pretty much right away, and the printed date no longer applies. If it’s never been opened, then read the date for a fairly reliable guide.

Resealable packages don’t really help.

If you buy it sliced at the deli counter, then consider it opened, and eat it right away.

Hard dry styles like certain types of salami are much more forgiving; I’m talking about olive loaf and so on.

Thank you. Or what ? What might happen to me? I know the rules, I just don’t know why. It seems to be about listeria, maybe in the slicer.

WebMD version

Does vacuum sealing help? Because oxygen?

Not an expert, my preference is the deli counter. More choices and lots of flexibility in quantity.

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Thank you. Mine too, and I sometimes think the quality might be better ( Boarshead vs Oscar Meyer And what’s up with Land O’ Frost? I don’tunderstand that brand name) but without the “safety” of the sealed package.

I found this, with says nothing supporting safety beyond 5 days.

Why Buying at the Deli Counter Beats Pre-Packaged Meat


I just know when I open soft wet stuff it goes bad faster. I can’t substantiate it further but I honestly don’t think I need to.


I love this:

“In his article at First We Feast, Phillip Mlynar, talks about the perilous state of Jewish delis in NYC with rapper III Bill. Not only is the time-honored culinary institution falling by the wayside, but as some delis gradually disappear, so do many of the associated cultural traditions.”

Lol since when did rappers become the expert(s) on the Jewish Deli scene in NYC? Couldn’t they at least get the Beastie Boys? At least they are good Jewish boys from Brooklyn!!


I know I’m old, but is the rapper’s name 3Bill or ill Bill?
Both make marginal sense.
Or maybe L’il Bill.

This was the first thing I thought of when I watched that video…


Agreed. I’ll add that NYC delis (and those in a few other cities) are a rarity in smaller cities, suburbs, or rural areas. The best we have is grocery store deli counters. Sliced meats work. The prepared food mostly comes into the store in big plastic tubs. My grocery actually has a bakery of sorts. My local groceries don’t even make sandwiches anymore - they come in wrapped in plastic each morning.

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I almost never buy deli meat by the pound at our local supermarkets but did so the other day because I had leftover potatoes, carrots, turnips from a St Paddy’s Day dinner. I asked the deli person to cut their Deitz & Watson corned beef about 1/4” thick and took some home to add to just a small amount of what I’d cooked myself.

All I can say is the D & W was horrendously bad. Gristly and tough doesn’t even begin to describe it. I’d headed it up with my own leftover corned beef but mine was fine. The next day I tried it cold on a sandwich… horrible that way too. I suppose the specific piece that was cut for me was sub-par but, except for a narrow line of gristle it looked OK. It was just a total waste of money!

I have no idea if the counter person could tell anything when he cut it but the experience certainly turned me from ‘almost never’ to ‘never’.

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Unhealthy William is his full name. :slight_smile:

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