Food Safety - Avoiding Food Poisoning
Seniors are more susceptible to food-borne illnesses because the stomach becomes less acidic with age, and acid is important in controlling bacteria.
Kidneys, which help filter bacteria from the blood, and the general immune system also weakens with age. Avoiding food-borne illness becomes even more important if there are other health problems.
Poor personal hygiene causes most food contamination problems. Wash your hands with soap and water often and use disposable paper towels to dry them, when handling raw meat, poultry and seafood. Wash fruits and vegetables before storing and keep them separate. While you control these causes at home, you are particularly susceptible when eating out, so choose your restaurants carefully.
Don't cross-contaminate. Never store cooked food with raw food. Use different cutting boards for meats and cutting breads or vegetables.
Cook meat and poultry thoroughly. Heat foods well, above 78 degrees Centigrade and refrigerate food promptly at temperatures below 4 degrees Centigrade.
When serving food for events, don't leave foods out for more than two hours in cold weather or one hour in hot weather. The "danger zone" is 40 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Many problems begin in the slaughtering houses, if the meat is improperly handled. Since we can't know the origin, we should treat all meat as if it is contaminated.
- Avoid letting raw meat juices come in contact with other food.
- Clean your counter and cutting board thoroughly between uses.
- Plastic cutting boards should be washed in the dishwasher and
- wooden cutting boards - and sponges used to clean counters - should
- be cooked in the microwave for a couple of minutes to kill any
- Always check dates on food labels.
- Refrigerate raw foods and leftovers promptly.
- Never defrost or marinate meat at room temperature. Boil remaining
- marinade before applying to meat while it is cooking.
- Cook meats thoroughly - until juices running from meat are clear.
Don't stuff poultry products; cook stuffing separately.
- Never eat raw eggs; even cooked eggs should have the whites firm
- and the yolks beginning to thicken to avoid salmonella.
- Don't eat raw cookie dough or cake batter with eggs in it.
- Avoid eating raw seafood.