According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 75 million Americans get sick from tainted food each year, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. No one wants to get sick from a food-borne illness. But for older adults with compromised immune systems, what starts out as a brief, unpleasant experience can lead to serious long-term health complications.
That’s why the International Food InfoArmation Council (IFIC) has posted important food safety information for seniors on its website (www.ific.org). Here are some of the tips to share with your older clients:
- Avoid soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk; for example, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses and Mexican-style cheeses, such as queso blanco.
- Always reheat hot dogs, luncheon meat and deli meats until they are steaming hot.
- Steer clear of foods made with unpasteurized raw eggs.
- Do not eat raw or uncooked seafood.
- Avoid fresh vegetable sprouts that have not been pasteurized.
- Choose pasteurized fruit juices.
- Use different cutting boards for meats and veggies.
- Keep foods in the refrigerator at 34–41 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, not on the kitchen counter.
- Cook all meats thoroughly, and use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.
- Do not allow leftovers to stay out on the counter for longer than 2 hours.