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New Booklets to Protect Older Americans, Others Most Vulnerable to Food Poisoning

Will help at-risk feel confident about safety of foods they prepare, eat; helpful to physicians, health care providers to educate at-risk patients

Aug. 9, 2012 A booklet Food Safety for Older Adults is one of six being published by the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide food safety advice developed specifically for the needs of people most vulnerable to food poisoning and those who prepare food for them.

"Everyone from farmers to food manufacturers to food preparers in the home has a role in food safety. It's important that consumers, particularly those who are at higher risk of foodborne illness, have information they can use to do their part in preventing illness by properly selecting and preparing foods," says Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


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Although we're all susceptible to food poisoning, also called foodborne illness, some people are in greater danger of illness from contaminated food and more likely to become severely sick as a result. These at-risk individuals include older adults, transplant recipients, pregnant women, and people with cancer, diabetes or HIV/AIDS.

To address this need, FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have partnered to create a series of six booklets for 2012 with updated food safety advice:

   ● Food Safety for People with Cancer

   ● Food Safety for People with Diabetes

   ● Food Safety for People with HIV/AIDS

   ● Food Safety for Older Adults

   ● Food Safety for Pregnant Women

   ● Food Safety for Transplant Recipients

The booklets provide a comprehensive, consumer-friendly overview of safe food-handling and selection principles. The information is presented in easy-to-read charts, illustrated how-tos, and straightforward descriptions of why each group is at higher risk for foodborne illness and symptoms that may mean trouble.

The booklets also contain tear-out cards with quick-reference tips for grocery shopping, cooking to the right temperature, and eating at restaurants for times when taking along the entire booklet would be impractical.

"These booklets are a much needed resource for consumers who are at increased risk of getting sick from food," said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety, Dr. Elisabeth Hagen.

"The clear, understandable information in these booklets will help at-risk individuals feel confident about the safety of foods they prepare and eat. The booklets are also helpful to physicians and other health care providers for educating their at-risk patients about foodborne illnesses."

FDA and USDA have mailed sample copies of the booklets to physicians around the country who specialize in treating patients in these six categories, and the booklets are available to the public free of charge. Additionally, the booklets are online and downloadable in PDF format at

To order booklets for your home, office, or organization, call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) weekdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET, or email requests to

>> More about Food Safety for Older Adults from the USDA


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