Summer Food Safety for Older Adults

older adults on a picnic

Better weather increases opportunities to eat meals outdoors including picnics and barbeques.

While it might be a fun change of pace, eating outside can present some challenges to keeping food safe for consumption. The reasons for this include prolonged lack of temperature support (for cold or hot foods) and increased potential for contamination from the environment such as dirt and flies. Older adults are at higher risk for severe illness and hospitalization from foodborne illness than their younger counterparts. When eating outdoors, consider the following to protect your safety:


  • Pack foods in a cooler with ice or ice packs to keep foods at 40 degrees or lower.
  • Hot foods should be kept at 140 degrees or higher. Bacteria grow rapidly between 41 and 139 degrees.
  • Be particularly careful with meats, dairy and eggs—including salads made with these items as they are particularly good at supporting bacterial growth when their temperature exceeds 40 degrees.
  • Consider placing a refrigerator thermometer in the cooler to make sure foods stay at 40 degrees or below.
  • Don’t use the ice from your cooler in your drinks as this ice could be contaminated.
  • Be sure to wash all fresh fruits and vegetables, including salad greens well.


  • When grilling, avoid undercooking meats. Consider using a food thermometer to check that meats are properly cooked. Ground beef should be heated to at least 160 degrees, poultry and hot dogs to 165 degrees and seafood to 145 degrees.
  • Avoid using utensils that have touched raw meats on fully cooked meats.


  • Wash hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food, after using the bathroom or handling pets.
  • Avoid use of potentially contaminated water sources (from creeks, lakes, rivers) in cooking.
  • Keep food protected from environmental contaminants such as dirt and insects which can introduce harmful bacteria to foods.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has a great guide on Food Safety for Older Adults which can be found here.

Source: Food Safety for Older Adults, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

Fall Prevention

grandma swimming with grandchild

HAPPY JUNE! As we begin to approach the summer months, there are a few simple tips to follow, so people of all ages can remain safe and uninjured while experiencing the wonderfully warm weather of summer. Each week of this month we will be sharing a summer tip for fall prevention!

TIP: More water activities mean more slippery surfaces.  The summer heat brings us outdoors and into the pool. Pay attention to potential water footprints left behind by your grandchildren while they enjoy a pool day at their grandparents’ house.

Water activities with your grandkids can be fun as well as beneficial for strengthening your muscles! Water is much denser than air, therefore exercising in water requires more effort than the same exercise on land.

Water Recipes

cranberry and lime water

Temperatures are rising as are our thirst levels! This month we will be sharing water recipes that are delicious and will continue to keep us hydrated as summer approaches! This week is all about tangy flavors! Whether you’d like to add some lemon and cucumber or orange and blueberry to your water, these flavors will keep us wanting more!

Recipe of the week: Cranberry & Lime Fizz
Mix 1 cup 100% cranberry juice (with no added sugar) with 4 cups seltzer water.
Rinse, then slice lime and squeeze juice into mixture. Stir and serve.