Older people (70 years plus) represent a risk category concerning complications with food-borne infections. As part of the project CHANCE, taking place in Austria, Germany, Latvia, Romania, Sweden and United Kingdom (Lifelong Learning Programme of European Union 2007-2009) a pilot study was performed in the urban area of Eriksberg, Uppsala municipality, Sweden. The aim was to understand this target group’s need for information about cold food storage and food handling within the context of understanding and perception of health related messages.
Methods: Nine individuals aged 72 -93 years were individually asked to purchase certain food items (soft cheese; vacuum-packed, smoked salmon; vacuum-packed, sliced ham) and store them in their own refrigerator using their normal food practices. Subsequently, qualitative interviews were performed. The temperature was then measured in these food items after storage for one night. Data were qualitatively processed.
Results: The study group were neither aware of the temperature in their refrigerator nor did they know about temperature differences on different shelves, although they did consider themselves to have a sound knowledge of how to handle and store foods. They expressed confidence in the grocery store and as such did not see the need for information. None of the informants were afraid of food-borne infections and yet a common habit was to taste raw minced meat, thus indicating a risk related optimism. The recorded temperatures of the various foodstuffs also suggested need for extra information.
Significance: This group seemed to overestimate their own skills concerning cold food storage. Education about food handling was taught in childhood but arguably a need for information about how to handle food today exists. The trust given to their grocery store might contribute to a decrease in their own responsibility, which might be an obstacle concerning accessing further information.
2008. 8-8 p.