Date Published: 15 June 2009

Campaign launched to tackle rise in over 60s food poisoning

Health Food - illustrating an item from the UK Food Standards Agency.

As Food Safety Week kicks off today, the Agency is warning older people about the life-threatening danger of listeria food poisoning and the simple steps that can be taken to avoid it.

The number of cases of listeria in people over 60 years of age has doubled in the past nine years. And one in three of the people who get food poisoning caused by listeria die as a result.

Listeria can make people very ill and 95% of cases end up needing treatment in hospital

Listeria is a type of food poisoning bacteria that can live and grow in a wide range of food – chilled ready-to-eat food in particular – for example pâté, cooked sliced meats, certain soft cheeses and smoked fish.

The Agency is working with GP surgeries, pharmacies and a range of community groups across the UK, specifically in areas with large populations of older people, to advise the over 60s to take care with chilled food. They are being advised not to use food past its 'use by' date, to make sure their fridges are between 0°C and 5°C, and to follow storage instructions on food labels.

These food safety messages are being targeted directly at older people through a poster and leaflet campaign, and advice will also be handed out on millions of pharmacy paper bags used for dispensing prescriptions.


Source: Food Standards Agency (FSA), UK.

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