OTTAWA, Jan. 29, 2013 /CNW/ - Health Canada is reminding Canadians of
the importance of food safety for older adults.
As we age, it becomes harder for our immune systems to fight off harmful
bacteria. This means that older adults can come down with a serious
illness if they eat contaminated food. For this reason, it is very
important for older adults, and those who prepare food for older
adults, to pay close attention to food safety when handling and
To minimize the risks of foodborne illness, older adults and caregivers
should follow the four key steps to food safety: Cook; Clean; Chill and Separate.
Cook - Always cook food to the safe internal temperatures. You can check this by using a digital food thermometer. Colour alone is not a reliable indicator that meat is safe to eat.
Meat can turn brown before all the bacteria are killed.
Clean - Properly clean anything that comes in contact with the food (your
hands, kitchen surfaces and utensils, reusable grocery bags, etc.). This will help eliminate bacteria and reduce your risk of
foodborne illness. In addition, fruits and vegetables should be washed under running water that is suitable for drinking.
Chill - It is extremely important to keep cold food cold and hot food hot so
that your food never reaches the "temperature danger zone," which is
between 4oC and 60oC (40oF and 140oF). Defrosting raw meat, poultry and fish should be done in the
refrigerator, in the microwave, or immersed in cold water (replaced every 30 minutes), never at room
Separate - It is important to always separate your raw foods, such as meat and
eggs, from ready-to-eat foods, such as cooked meat and vegetables, to
Older adults should also pay close attention to what they are eating.
Some foods are at a higher risk for foodborne bacteria than others.
Avoid non-dried deli meats, such as bologna, roast beef, and turkey
breast unless they are fully cooked.
Avoid hot dogs straight out of the package. Make sure to cook hot dogs
until they are steaming hot before eating them.
Don't eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry, fish or seafood.
Avoid refrigerated smoked fish or seafood.
Avoid unpasteurized juice, cider and milk.
Avoid all soft and semi-soft cheeses made from raw or unpasteurized milk.
Avoid refrigerated pâtés and meat spreads.
Avoid uncooked foods made from raw or unpasteurized eggs.
Avoid raw sprouts such as alfalfa and mung beans.
It is estimated that there are approximately 11 million cases of
foodborne illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these cases could be
prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.
For more information on food safety tips for older adults, please visit:
It's Your Health
Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education
Stay connected with Health Canada and receive the latest advisories and
product recalls using social media tools.
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SOURCE: Health Canada
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