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Elederly People in the UK more likely to Gamble with Food Safety

This comes from the UK's Food Standards Agency:

People over the age of 60 are more likely to take risks with 'use by' dates than younger people, according to new research published today by the Food Standards Agency. The research coincides with the launch of an Agency campaign to focus on this age group during Food Safety Week.

Eating food beyond its 'use by' date increases the risk of food poisoning from the listeria food bug, which can be life-threatening for this age group.

A recent sharp rise in the number of people taken ill with listeria has seen more older people affected. The number of cases rose by 20% in 2007 and has doubled since 2000, this increase occurring predominantly among people over 60.

The research published today shows that less than half of this age group recognise 'use by' dates as an important indicator of whether food is safe or not, and so they could be putting themselves at risk of serious illness.

Comments (3)

  1. This is an interesting study in part because I don't think it takes into account basic home economics and the recession. Prior to the market crash I was a stickler for "use by" dates, now that it's tougher to make ends meet I use the "nose" and "quick taste" test more often. Sure, I may be flirting with disaster but at least I'll have the money for my co-pay ;)
  2. Here is a good pdf that deals a lot with the issue of home economics. Here is the link http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/pafiover65.pdf. The article shows that people over age 65 are less likely to identify use by dates as a factor in their decision to consume. I think the respondents probably did not grow up with use by dates and therefore are simply less likely to use this as an indicator of freshness. But more likely their unwillingness to throw food out is due to the culture they grew up in. Wasting what appears to be perfectly good food in times of war and bad economies was most certainly never done unless the food was visibly tainted. I think those people 65 and older are just less likely to waste due to growing up in an era with different values. Overall and interesting study and I would like to see more of the data from the qualitative survey that was conducted. Numbers are nice but what the people actually tell you is often times more revealing.
  3. Good points Ray!

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