Listeria warning for East Devon residents

PUBLISHED: 17:42 22 June 2009 | UPDATED: 23:43 15 June 2010

PEOPLE over the age of 60 are more likely to take risks with use by dates than younger people, according to new research published by the Food Standards Agency.

PEOPLE over the age of 60 are more likely to take risks with 'use by' dates than younger people, according to new research published by the Food Standards Agency.'Use by' dates are different from other dates that may appear on food products. It's not illegal for shops to sell food after its 'best before', 'sell by' or 'display until' date but eating food beyond its 'use by' date increases the risk of food poisoning from the listeria food bug. The number of cases of Listeria in people over 60 years of age has doubled in the past nine years, with a 20 per cent increase in 2007 alone.East Devon District Council's environmental health team is warning its older residents that listeria food poisoning can be serious and, although the number of cases is relatively small, one in three people who get food poisoning caused by Listeria dies as a result.Across the country, Listeria has been found in a range of chilled ready-to-eat foods such as pre-packed sandwiches, pate, butter, soft mould-ripened cheeses, cooked sliced meats and smoked salmon. It is impossible to tell from its appearance whether food is contaminated with listeria. It will look, smell and taste completely normal. There are some really simple steps people can take to reduce the risk of getting ill in the first place. Store food by following what it says on the label. Always keep within the food's use-by date, it shows how long it stays safe.Fridge chilled food between 0¡C and 5¡C. So is your fridge cold enough?Exceeding the use-by date by a day means 'throw it out' even if it looks OK. For more information about Listeria, including what to look out for and how to avoid it, visit the Food Standards Agency website at www.eatwell.gov.uk/healthissues/foodpoisoning/listeria/

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