Older adults more likely to get food poisoning

Published On: May 15 2014 04:12:27 PM EDT   Updated On: May 16 2014 07:40:00 AM EDT

Adults aged 65 and older are four times more likely to get listeria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"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," explained Kansas State University Food Safety Specialist Londa Nwadike.

She 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.

  • For those who receive "Meals on Wheels" dinners, they 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.

"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," said Nwadike.

Read more from the Food and Drug Administration about foodborne illness and food safety for older adults.


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