Tips to prevent food poisoning in older adults

UNDATED (Kansas State Univ.) -- Adults aged 65 and older are four times more likely to get listeria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kansas State University Food Safety Specialist Londa Nwadike said, "Older adults sometimes don't have the same sense of smell, sense of sight even or sense of taste that they used to so a food might taste bad or smell bad or even visibly be able to see that there's mold on there and they don't realize that."

A Kansas State University food safety specialist says food safety is a big concern for older adults. Many have lived through the Great Depression and save everything, even if it's not safe to eat.

Here are some tips to avoid food poisoning:

  • Those meals on wheels dinners need to be thrown out after three to four days.
  • Leftovers should not sit out more than two hours before being refrigerated.
  • The refrigerator should be set to 40 degrees or below and the freezer to zero degrees.

If older adults get food poisoning, it's harder for their bodies to fight the infection. Nwadike said, "Also their stomachs don't produce as much acid as younger people and this also could be affected by medications they're taking, if they're ill, then they're producing less acid in their stomach then they just can't fight off foodborne illness like other people can."


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