More than a quarter of pre-packed sandwiches sold in shops and cafés in Ireland are stored at temperatures higher than 5°C.
A Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) study found that 29% of sandwiches were stored above the recommended temperature, while four sandwiches were kept above 8°C, and one was displayed unrefrigerated at 17.9°C classified as unacceptable/potentially hazardous. For three of these sandwiches, there was at least one day remaining until the use-by date expired, which could have allowed even more bacteria to grow.
The survey of 948 pre-packed sandwiches at retailers and caterers, assessed the microbiological safety of pre-packaged sandwiches and showed that 99% were satisfactory when tested for the food-borne bacteria Listeria monocytogenes and coagulase positive staphylococci.
Jim Winship, of the British Sandwich Association, said that although it recommended sandwiches should be kept below 5°C, the UK level was 8°C: "There shouldn’t be a problem if the sandwiches are made in the right conditions and then kept at 8°C."