Predictors of Safe Food Handling among Canadian Seniors Living at Home

Abhinand Thaivalappil, Ian Young, Andrew Papadopoulos Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 111-120, Mar 2020 Volume 40, Issue 2: Pages 111–120

Seniors (age 65+) account for 6 million people in Canada, and these numbers continue to rise. Older adults are at increased risk for foodborne illness because of their decline in immune function and gut function, as well as underlying chronic conditions. In this study, a subset of previously collected survey data was analyzed to identify potential determinants related to safe storage and temperature control food safety practices among seniors at home. Data from seniors across Canada (n = 1078) were collected in 2014–2015, using a population-based, structured telephone survey. Three safe food-handling outcomes and nine determinants were examined, using logistic regression models. Most participants were women (66%) and lived with others (51%). Most seniors followed instructions on food labels (90%) and refrigerated leftovers within recommended guidelines (82%), but only a small proportion of respondent’s stored raw meats on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator (20%). Models revealed that women and younger seniors (65–74) were more likely than men and older seniors to have better food handling outcomes. Recommendations are provided based on these findings to improve targeted messaging and highlight areas for future research among seniors.

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