Older adults have a higher risk because as people age, their immune systems and organs don’t recognize and get rid of harmful germs as well as they once did. Nearly half of people aged 65 and older who have a lab-confirmed foodborne illness from Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria or E. coli are hospitalized.
Although everyone is susceptible, some people are at greater risk for developing foodborne illness.
The elderly are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning. Not only do they contract foodborne illnesses at a higher rate than other segments of society, they are also more likely to need prolonged medical attention because of it.
Why Are Older Adults More Vulnerable? As adults age, certain factors can weaken the immune systems, making it harder to fight off bacteria and serious illness. Older adults may produce less stomach acid, which helps to control bacteria, and weakened kidneys may struggle to filter bacteria from the blood.
Adults age 65 and older. Children younger than 5 years. People whose immune systems are weakened due to illness or medical treatment. Pregnant women.
At least five trends contribute to the possible increase in foodborne disease: changes in diet, the increasing use of commercial food services, new methods of producing and distributing food, new or re-emerging infectious foodborne agents, and the growing number of people at high risk for severe or fatal foodborne
Why are elderly people considered a high-risk population when it comes to foodborne illnesses? People’s immune systems weaken with age. Being a foodservice manager is not easy. You have responsibilities to your operation, your staff, and your customers.
This increased risk is because organs and body systems change as the body ages. The digestive system holds food longer, allowing bacteria to grow while the stomach may not produce enough acid to limit the number of intestinal bacteria. The liver and kidneys may not properly rid the body of foreign bacteria and toxins.
Nutrients – most foods contain enough nutrients for bacteria to grow. This is especially the case with potentially high-risk foods such as dairy and egg products, meat and poultry and seafood. Water – bacteria need water for their growth. Without water, growth may slow down or stop.
High-risk foods are those that are most likely to cause food poisoning. High-risk foods, also called potentially hazardous foods, are foods that have ideal conditions for bacterial growth, and are therefore more likely to harbour dangerous bacteria and other disease-causing pathogens like viruses and parasites.
How can you prevent foodborne illness?
Top 5 Foodborne Illness Risk Factors
Transplant recipients take drugs to suppress the immune system to keep it from attacking, or rejecting, the transplanted organ or bone marrow. These medicines are necessary, but a side effect is that they make infections more likely, such as those caused by foodborne germs.
Examples of high-risk foods include: