Ann and Frank and the 4 Cs

When we look around and see today’s retirees running around after grandchildren or volunteering in their community, it’s easy to forget that as we age, our bodies do begin to slow down, and that includes our immune system.

As we get older both the number of our immune cells and their efficiency reduces. This means that the human body is not as effective at fighting off bacteria that cause infections and can increase the risk of severe illness.

A reduction in stomach acid and increased transit time of food through the gut also contribute to an increased risk of foodborne disease as we get older.

In addition to these factors, those who are over 65 are more likely to have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, chronic illness, and perhaps physical disabilities, which can also contribute to the burden of foodborne disease in this age group.

We realise that this is a pretty diverse group of people and some may be affected by several of the factors I have mentioned, while others may be fitter and healthier than someone ten years younger. However, food poisoning isn’t fun for anyone and can be particularly nasty for those who are most vulnerable.

The 4 Cs logoThis is why safefood’s food safety campaign is aimed primarily at those in the over 65 age group. The campaign focuses on " The 4Cs" of food safety – cooking, cleaning, chilling, and avoiding cross-contamination – and asks you to listen to the voice of food safety when preparing food at home.

Our TV ads show "Ann" and "Frank" in the kitchen, about to make some of the most common food safety mistakes. When we’re in a hurry or trying to do several things at once, it’s easy to forget how easily bacteria can be spread from raw meat to cooked food or salad if we don’t scrub knives or chopping boards in hot, soapy water. We can be tempted as well to go for a quick "splash and dash" but that isn’t enough to thoroughly wash our hands after handling raw meat or poultry.

"We've just had raw meat on the chopping board, It has to be washed in hot, soapy water."

Using up leftovers helps to cut down on waste and get the most out of our weekly food shop, but do remember to cover cooked food and chill it within two hours, to avoid the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. 

"Leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours."

While have developed the campaign with the over 65s in mind, I think we will all recognise a bit of ourselves in Ann and Frank.

So whether you’re caring for a younger or older relative, or simply enjoying your retirement and spending the kids’ inheritance, we would ask you to listen to the voice of food safety, and take a couple of extra minutes in the kitchen to do things right, and protect yourself from food poisoning.

Posted: 24/11/2015 14:45:23 by Linda Gordon
Filed under: Campaigns, The 4 Cs

About Me

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Linda Gordon
Hi, my name is Linda Gordon and I am Chief Specialist in Food Science with safefood. I’m a microbiologist and my work involves research into food safety, addressing queries on a range of food hygiene and safety issues, and managing our Knowledge Networks, which connect food safety professionals across the island of Ireland. I live in County Cork with my husband and two young sons. In my free time I love walking my (very elderly) Labrador, books, Scandinavian crime dramas, and eating the fantastic meals my husband cooks.