In the case of openly offered goods, the labels of the original packages, on which the manufacturers must indicate the best-before date, are often no longer available. We investigated to what extent delicatessen counters have set up systems for the traceability of openly offered or portioned and repackaged goods and whether this makes it possible to check at which point in time the goods are delivered to the end consumer within the specified shelf life or whether this period is exceeded.
We examined 74 samples from all over Austria. Nine samples were unsuitable, value-impaired or misleading due to microbiological and/or sensory defects such as mold or increased germ contamination. We did not detect any harmful germs such as listeria or salmonella. Three samples showed labeling deficiencies.
The high rate of complaints regarding fitness for human consumption and germ contamination shows that there is a need for improvement in the traceability systems of delicatessen counter operators. The food authorities are taking appropriate action and carrying out renewed inspections.
- Look for discoloration, dried spots, greasy surfaces, noticeable consistency (moist, lumpy) as soon as you start shopping.
- Possibly make an odor sample (rancid, musty)