“Eating something that is ‘off’ can have serious consequences at any age“– Paul Ebeling
As we get older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that food poisoning has more deleterious effects on the immune system.
Food poisoning happens when people eat products contaminated with harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses or toxins.
The symptoms could include stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and loss of appetite.
But, older adults in general are more likely to have severe illness from food poisoning that could land them in the hospital.
Below are some of the most common foods that trigger food poisoning, as follows:
- Meat, including chicken, beef, pork, and turkey. Use a food thermometer to ensure that meats are not undercooked. Avoid cross-contamination by preparing these products on separate work surfaces. Consuming rare cuts of meat can be hazardous, especially to older people.
- Rice, 1 of the oldest cereal grains and a staple food for more than 50% the world’s population, is a high-risk item for food poisoning. Both uncooked rice and cooked rice that has been left out too long at room temperature can develop toxic spores called Bacillus cereus. So, eat rice as soon as it’s cooked and refrigerate leftovers immediately.
- Vegetables and leafy greens. As we know from the many recalls of produce, bacteria such as E. Coli, salmonella, and listeria abound and can occur across various stages of the food chain. Unclean water and dirty runoff are some reasons veggies can cause foodborne illness, so always wash thoroughly before consuming, especially raw salad items.
- Fish and shellfish. Contaminated shellfish can contain the norovirus which may cause dehydration in older adults and undercooked fish contains parasites that can make you ill. Raw oysters are a major source of food poisoning. Always cook seafood to 145 degrees and heat leftovers to 195 degrees. Do not eat any shellfish that will not fully open.
- Eggs can contain salmonella, but today’s modern processing makes it less likely that they are contaminated. Still, it is best not to eat raw eggs that are not Organic, keep them refrigerated.
- Deli meats: researchers found that deli meats that are sliced at deli counters accounted for 83% of the deaths caused by listeria food poisoning, while only 17% were traced to pre-packaged deli meat products. Always cook hot dogs and sausages thoroughly and store lunch meats in the refrigerator and use by the date on the package.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively