You’re more likely to get a foodborne illness when you’re eating shawarma, donairs, and gyros than other meat products because of how the meat is cooked 1. Certain steps must be taken to reduce the risk of food-borne illness when preparing these foods. Remember your safe food handling and handwashing practices.
Follow these steps when preparing shawarmas, donairs, and gyros:
- Buy all ingredients from an approved source (e.g. supermarkets and food stores meet the government regulations).
- Meat cones that are to be frozen must be placed in the freezer right away and must be kept frozen until cooking.
- Use a clean knife when slicing meat.
- The broiler must be kept on at all times. At times of low activity, the broiler may be turned down (not off). The outside temperature of the meat must be a minimum of 60ºC (140ºF) at all times.
- Once meat is sliced from the cone, the meat must receive a secondary cooking step on a grill or in an oven. It’s important that you cook the meat to a temperature of 74ºC (165ºF).
- Once the meat receives a secondary cooking process it must be served right away or placed in a hot holding unit that’s able to keep a temperature of 60ºC (140ºF) or more. The meat can also be placed in a cooling unit that’s at 4ºC (40ºF) or less. This is an important step to make sure that meat is not left in the temperature danger zone.
- Meat that has been cooled to 4ºC (40ºF) must be re-heated to 74ºC (165ºF) before serving to a customer.
- At the end of the day, you must throw away any remaining portions of uncooked or partially cooked meat or you must cook the meat to a temperature of 74ºC (165ºF.) Then you must cool the meat to 4ºC (40ºF) or less (from 60°C (140°F) to 20°C (68°F) within two hours; from 20°C (68°F) to 4°C (40°F) within four hours). If the cone is still frozen, you may immediately return it to the freezer for use the next day.
If you have any questions, please call one of our Public Health Inspectors at 519-258-2146 ext. 4475.
1. Health Canada. (2008). Management of the risks related to consumption of donairs and similar products (gyros, kebabs, chawarmas, and shawarmas). Retrieved from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/legislation/guide-ld/manage_ris_donair-eng.php