Food safety for the elderly
The elderly are considered high-risk for food poisoning due to a weakened immune system and biological factors such as a reduced amount of stomach acid or a slow-processing liver or kidney. Unfortunately, where a minor case of food poisoning may be quickly overcome by a young, healthy person, for those older in age, it may result in serious complications such as hospitalisation, long-term illness or, in severe cases, death.
Avoiding risk of illness related to contaminated food is essential for food service businesses, particularly those in health or aged care. As Australia’s leading supplier of high-quality food safety products, resources, and commercial kitchen supplies, below are our recommended food safety tips for keeping seniors safe.
All kitchen staff must take personal hygiene seriously in all kitchens, but special attention should be paid when serving the elderly. Fundamental processes such as hand washing and sanitisation remove any bacteria that may have been picked up outside of the kitchen. Similarly, all areas and apparatus should be cleaned according to food safety standards with sanitising products such as the Smart San S-2 Surface Cleaner or Surface Wipes. Developing a cleaning schedule is also a simple way to keep kitchen staff accountable.
Protect against cross-contamination
Cross-contamination is a leading cause of food-related illnesses. The separation of different ingredients is key to stopping the spread of bacteria in its tracks. Tools that can help assist in this process include colour-coded utensils such as the Fildes Food Safety Colour Coded Chopping Boards or Victorinox Colour Coded Cooking Knives.
Avoid serving high-risk foods
When serving the elderly in a specialised setting such as an aged-care facility, it is crucial to minimise risk by serving foods that generally pose a low-risk of food poisoning. It is essential to avoid foods that commonly cause adverse reactions due to their susceptibility to bacteria growth. Examples of such food include uncooked seafood such as oysters, soft cheese, undercooked eggs and pre-cut fruit and vegetables.
Pay extra care to special dietary requirements
When serving the elderly, it is important to consider that food requirements surrounding liquidity may apply. For those suffering from dysphagia, a medical condition that makes swallowing difficult and painful, it is vital to provide the right consistency in food and beverages. Fildes Food Safety offers labels indicating food consistency according to the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) standards.
Fildes Food Safety's extensive range of food-safe products and commercial kitchen supplies can help ease the process of serving elderly patrons in the general food service industry or, more specifically, in aged or health care settings. Browse the website to discover more.