|It is usual to use commas to separate the items in a list. However, when the list items themselves contain commas, you can outrank those commas by using semicolons as separators for your list items.|
Semicolons to Separate List ItemsItems in lists are usually separated with commas (as in the first example below). However, if the list items themselves contain commas, then semicolons can be used as separators to outrank those commas.
semicolons used to separate lists items containing commas (correct)
THE OXFORD COMMA
This note is about commas not semicolons, but it will affect how you punctuate your lists.
In the first example below, the comma after butter is called an Oxford comma. In the US, when there are more than two list items, your readers will expect a comma before the conjunction (in this case, and) that precedes the last list item. In the UK, the tendency is not to use the Oxford comma. Be warned that Brits and Americans are very inconsistent on whether they sit inside or outside the "use an Oxford comma" camp. The bottom line is choose whichever convention your company uses (or which you like best if you have that much freedom) and be consistent.
HIERARCHY OF PUNCTUATION
In complex lists like the one below, semicolons are used to separate the list items because commas are used within the list items. You will also notice that brackets are being used to add information within the list items.