A doner kebab consists of thin slices cut from a cylindrical block of minced and seasoned meat (beef, lamb or chicken) which has been grilled on a vertical, rotating spit. It is eaten on unleavened bread with salad and sauce.
If not made hygienically, doner kebabs can pose a food safety risk for customers, because some of its ingredients are capable of allowing the rapid growth of disease-causing bacteria.
Making kebabs safely
Keep everything clean
- Wash hands in a proper hand washing facility whenever they are a likely source of contamination (such as after hanging a kebab block)
- Cover food in the refrigerator.
- It is easy to contaminate kebab ingredients such as hommus, tabouli and cheese. Only use such ingredients if they are properly refrigerated (at or below 5°C), packaged and labelled, with date codes
- Frozen kebab meat should be kept frozen until used
- If you thaw frozen kebab meat before cooking, thaw it under refrigeration or in the microwave.
- Keep fresh minced meat for making kebabs under refrigeration until ready for use. Refrigerate freshly made kebab meat while it is setting
- Store potentially hazardous food including dairy-based sauces, at or below 5°C. Check with a thermometer
- The bacteria that cause food poisoning grow between 5°C and 60°C — the temperature danger zone. Potentially hazardous foods that have been in the temperature danger zone for more than four hours should be thrown out. Keep cold food in the fridge until you are ready to cook or serve it, and serve hot food steaming hot
- Do not overload refrigerators as this reduces cooling efficiency.
- Start cooking the kebab immediately after removing it from cold storage
- Ensure meat sliced from the kebab is properly cooked and kept above 60°C until served. Use a thermometer to check temperatures
- Best practice is to use a second cook step to heat the cooked, sliced meat on a hot plate or grill just before serving to make sure it is above 60°C
- At the end of the day, it is best practice to throw out any uncooked or partially cooked meat left over at the core of the kebab block. Any leftover kebab meat that has been fully cooked may potentially be reused provided it is cooled to less than 21°C within two hours from when cooking stops, and then to 5°C or less within the next four hours. Monitor temperatures with a probe thermometer. A quick way to bring the temperature down is to put the meat in the freezer. Before reusing the meat, reheat it on a grill until it is above 60°C.
Prevent cross contamination of food
- Keep raw and cooked food separate
- Remember to wash your hands thoroughly in hot soapy water and dry them before preparing food and after touching raw meat, especially chicken, and other raw foods
- Thoroughly clean all utensils, equipment, surfaces and tea towels after preparing raw food and before contact with other food
- Store raw meat, chicken and seafood at the bottom of the fridge so it can’t drip onto other foods
- Keep pets and animals out of the kitchen
- Do not prepare food for yourself or others if you are ill from something like diarrhoea or a cold.