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Eating Well—and Safely—During Your Golden Years
Immunity Declines With Age
Food for Thought
All of these foods can contain bacteria. Cooking kills the harmful microorganisms, but none of these foods are eaten heated. The bacteria can cause everything from flu-like symptoms to meningitis, a life-threatening inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.
Raw, unpasteurized eggs may contain bacteria that can cause nausea and diarrhea, but it can also lead to serious complications such as severe dehydration. Runny eggs and sunny sides-up can contain bacteria too. Eggs that are runny are not exposed to enough heat to kill the bacteria that may be present, and sunny sides-up would need to be flipped over to make sure the bacteria are killed on both sides.
These foods sometimes contain bacteria thatcan cause severe dehydration and stomach cramps to fever and blood poisoning.
These curly vegetable threads that often appear atop salads or tucked into sandwiches can contain bacteria. The high level of moisture sprouts need to grow provides the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Since the sprouts are typically eaten raw, the pathogens—which can cause kidney failure—don't get killed during cooking. Washing thoroughly doesn't rid them of all the bacteria either.
Some juice may be unpasteurized, meaning that it has not been treated to kill harmful bacteria. It may cause foodborne illness, ranging from diarrhea and stomach cramps to more severe symptoms.
Coping with Illness
Fight BAC http://www.fightbac.org
United States Department of Agriculture http://www.usda.gov
Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education http://www.canfightbac.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
E. coli infection and food safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/features/ecoliinfection/. Updated July 29, 2013. Accessed September 4, 2013.
Food safety for older adults. United States Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/SelectedHealthTopics/UCM312790.pdf. Updated September 2011. Accessed September 3, 2013.
For safety for older adults. United States Food and Drug Administration and United States Department of Agriculture website. Available at: http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/risk/olderadults/. Accessed September 4, 2013.
Listeria (listeriosis): definition. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/definition.html. Updated July 11, 2013. Accessed September 4, 2013.
Listeria (listeriosis): prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/prevention.html. Updated August 1, 2013. Accessed September 4, 2013.
Older adults and food safety. United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service website. Available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/ab56957a-3f3c-4b67-aece-44ef1890b0fd/Older%5FAdults%5Fand%5FFood%5FSafety.pdf?MOD=AJPERES. Accessed September 4, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/04/2013