According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year nearly 50 million Americans become sick with foodborne diseases, 128,000 go to the hospital, and 3,000 die. The elderly are particularly susceptible to foodborne illnesses. Caregivers do not always recognize these illnesses or associate their symptoms with anything the person in home care has eaten. Minor but persistent foodborne diseases can detract from an elderly person’s quality of life, and there is always the possibility that the senior will fall prey to something much worse.
Proper food handling, sanitation, and food storage techniques can go a long way toward decreasing the chance of foodborne illness. Federal, state and local agencies make sure restaurants and institutional food service establishments follow these procedures. In a home kitchen, you have that complete responsibility.
ElderEats has sections on the four key components of an effective preventive system: Clean (foods and utensils), Separate (foods that can cause cross-contamination), Cook (to adequate internal temperatures) and Chill (in the refrigerator or freezer for appropriate lengths of time). A further section, Discard, covers food storage issues. A final section highlights major food handling Mistakes.