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Foods that are considered risky to the elderly

Many foods that we would not think twice about eating can pose a much higher risk to the elderly due to the fact that their stomach acids are unable to process them as effectively as when they were younger, leading to the control of bacteria being inhibited. Once an elderly person contracts a foodborne illness it can not only be difficult to treat but also can frequently recur.

Below is a list of foods that pose a higher risk to the elderly according to the Food Safety Information Council :

• Cheese (cheese from delicatessens and pre-packaged cheeses that are soft or semi-soft, as well as cheeses that have ripened surfaces such as blue cheese, brie, camembert, feta and ricotta)

• Ice cream (soft serve variety)

• Cold meats (whether packaged or unpackaged, cooked or uncooked, such as ham or roast beef)

• Cold cooked chicken (whole chickens as well as sliced or diced portions)

• Unpasteurised dairy products (raw milk, cheese or yoghurt made from raw milk)

• Seafood (sushi, sashimi, smoked trout or salmon, peeled and precooked prawns such as in cocktails and salads, smoked or raw oysters)

• Salad (salads prepared in advance or pre-packaged vegetables or fruits)

• Pate (any refrigerated pate, such as meat spreads or liverwurst)

It is vital to remember that food poisoning in the elderly results in far more serious consequences including dehydration, improper functioning of the neuromuscular system and death and that it takes them much longer to recover from a bout of food poisoning the older they are.