Eating Safely

Frequently Asked Questions

2. How do foodborne illnesses affect older adults?

Foodborne illness can affect anyone, but older adults are at increased risk. As we age, our bodies produce less stomach acid, making it harder to get rid of harmful bacteria that enter our digestive system. Our digestion may also slow down, allowing harmful bacteria to stay in our bodies longer. Also, changes in smell and taste can keep us from knowing when food is spoiled.

Foodborne illnesses can cause serious health problems for older adults. An older person who gets a foodborne illness is likely to be sicker longer, and if hospitalized, is likely to have a longer hospital stay.