Older consumers' safe food handling in the domestic setting

Thaivalappil, Abhinand
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

Approximately four million cases of domestically-acquired foodborne illness occur each year in Canada, resulting in over 11,000 hospitalizations and 230 deaths. Older adults make up a substantive portion of these numbers because of their susceptibility to foodborne illness due to weakened immune function and other chronic diseases they can develop over time. Seniors outnumbered children in Canada in 2017, and they are predicted to increase up to 25% of the country's population in the next two decades. As the number of older adults continue to increase, there is a need to identify which aspects of safe food handling could be improved in this group. The objectives of this project were to (a) gain an understanding of the food safety management of older adults (60+) at home, and (b) identify which factors influence their safe food handling behaviours. This was answered through a systematic review of the literature on older adults' knowledge, food handling behaviours, and risky food consumption at home; and an analysis of a national food safety survey dataset. Key findings include a lack of awareness of Listeria and components of safe storage (e.g. refrigeration, reheating). Moreover, men were less likely than women to follow safe food handling at home. Recommendations for interventions and future research are provided.

food handling, behaviour, older adults, food safety, consumer, behaviour change, elderly