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Staying Healthy: A Guide to Food Safety for Senior Citizens

January 4 2019

Staying Healthy: A Guide to Food Safety for Senior CitizensDid you know that if you are 65 years of age or older, then you are at a higher risk for hospitalization and even death because of foodborne illness? For this reason, it is so critically important that you learn the basics of food safety so that you can stay healthy and happy.
 
The knowledge of food safety and handling is the first line of defense to protect yourself from the consequences of food-related illness. The following are a few things you can do to protect yourself:
 

Guidelines for Safe Food Handling

 
First and foremost, you want to make sure that you are safely handling your food. This means that you should immediately refrigerate all perishable food items and make sure the temperature in your refrigerator and freezer are at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below and 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below respectively.
 
Next, you want to avoid thawing your food at room temperature. Instead, thaw any meat or food you have in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Once the food has completely thawed, it should then be cooked immediately.
 
Additionally, whenever handling food, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap. The same applies to all the utensils, dishes, and other items you use in the kitchen. Doing so can help prevent the risk of cross-contamination.
 

Remember the Two Hour Rule

 
The Two Hour Rule states that no perishable food should ever be left out at room temperature for any longer than two hours. If you have food that has been left out longer than this, then the safest thing to do is discard it.
 

Foods that Seniors Should Avoid or Approach with Caution

 
To be safe, it is recommended that you take extreme caution or avoid completely raw or smoked fish, hot dogs and lunch meat, raw or unpasteurized milk, fruit and veggie juice, raw or lightly cooked eggs, raw meat, and sprouts.
 
However, there are a few exceptions to those listed above. For example, canned or other shelf-stable products are okay and safe to use, and hot dogs and lunch meat are okay if they are heated to what is considered a safe temperature.
 

Bottom Line

 
The bottom line is simply to educate yourself about food handling and safety. Always follow the expiration dates and sell-by dates and remember that bacteria can grow very quickly, so be diligent when it comes to your health and food safety.