Lunch meat

Lunch meat

Lunch meat
A tray of assorted lunch meats
Alternative names Cold cuts, luncheon meats, sandwich meats, cooked meats, sliced meats, cold meats, deli meats
Main ingredients Meat or cheese
Cookbook: Lunch meat 

Lunch meats—also known as Cold cuts, luncheon meats, sandwich meats, cooked meats, sliced meats, cold meats, and deli meats—are precooked or cured meat, often sausages or meat loaves, that are sliced and served cold or hot on sandwiches or on party trays.[1] They can be bought pre-sliced in vacuum packs at a supermarket or grocery store, or they can be purchased at a delicatessen or deli counter, where they might be sliced to order.


  • Health 1
  • Safety 2
  • Regional differences 3
    • Commonwealth countries 3.1
    • Latin America 3.2
  • Types 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Most pre-sliced lunch meats are higher in fat, nitrates, and sodium than those that are sliced to order, as a larger exposed surface requires stronger preservatives.[1]


The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that those over 50 reheat lunch meats to "steaming hot" 165 °F (74 °C) and use them within four days.[2]

Regional differences

Commonwealth countries

In Commonwealth countries, luncheon meat specifically refers to products that can include mechanically reclaimed meat and offal. In these countries, the terms cold meats, cooked meats, deli meats or sliced meats are used instead.

Latin America

The Spanish word for lunch meat, fiambre, is also used in street slang to refer to a dead body (more common in Chile and Argentina), because of the word used to express low temperatures of the bodies. In Brazil, the Portuguese for ham, presunto, is also used with the same meaning.

In Guatemala, a lunch meat is a traditional dish eaten in November. It is eaten the first and second day of the month to celebrate "El día de Todos los Santos" (All Saints' Day) and "El día de Todos los Difuntos" (All Souls' Day). There are two types: red and white.


See also


  1. ^ a b Phil Lempert (27 December 2006). "The 5 things you need to know about deli meats". Today Food. NBC News. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "CDC: Over 50? Heat cold cuts to 165 degrees to avoid listeria". 

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons