Considering immunocompromised individuals and older adults, these populations are at a higher risk for foodborne illness than other populations. In addition to older adults, health care facilities and assisted living facilities are also considered high-risk environments for foodborne illness. Listed below are the types of foods that would be safe to serve to these populations. In addition, you should never serve raw sprouts, undercooked meat, or unpasteurized eggs.
Food products containing raw eggs should be avoided in general. They may be found in foods like “health food” milk shakes, Caesar salads, Hollandaise sauce, ice cream, and eggnog recipes. Pasteurized eggs, on the other hand, are safe to serve to the general public, especially when cooked. There are other reasons why you should serve pasteurized eggs.
Raw eggs should be refrigerated and displayed at a temperature of at least seven degrees Celsius. When cooking cooked eggs, they should be cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If cooking large quantities of cooked eggs, make sure to cool them quickly. You cannot use time alone as a public health control when preparing raw eggs. Rather, use a HACCP plan that also includes cooking temperatures for pooled eggs.
Currently, the state of Minnesota’s food code defines a highly susceptible population as someone who needs to avoid eating or consuming raw or undercooked foods. Highly susceptible populations include the elderly, immunocompromised individuals, and the very young. The food code also specifies other restrictions regarding serving raw or partially cooked animal food, including seed spouts. Unpasteurized eggs, meanwhile, would be safe to serve to a highly vulnerable population.
In Michigan, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DAARD) has listed raw sprouts as a “potentially hazardous food” under the state’s Food Code. The food code requires the sprouts to be held under refrigeration at 41 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that would kill any bacteria present. When not in use, sprouts should be discarded after 24 hours.
Food establishments that serve a highly susceptible population should provide pasteurized juices, purees, and eggs. Hand-to-mouth contact with food is prohibited in these situations, as well as undercooked meat, sprouts, and oysters. They should never serve or sell raw sprouts, or partially cooked animal products, unless the food is labeled “pasteurized” and labeled as “non-pathogenic.”
The Department of Health Services recognizes raw-seed sprouts as a potentially hazardous food because they have been shown to support the rapid growth of Escherichia coli 0157:H7. It also lists them as a potentially hazardous food in the 1999 Federal Model Food Code. Raw sprouts have been associated with an increased risk of foodborne illness, so it’s important to prepare them properly before serving them to a highly vulnerable population.
Although the FDA has warned against the consumption of raw sprouts, they are generally considered safe for the general public. When serving them to a highly vulnerable population, it’s best to buy sprouts at their proper refrigerator temperature, and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling them. It’s also a good idea to rinse sprouts thoroughly to remove surface dirt. However, it’s best to avoid sprouts that smell musty, are slimy, or have a foul odor.
Although eating undercooked meat may not cause illness in most people, it is important to follow proper food safety practices. This may include serving raw or undercooked meat, using utensils and cutting boards that have been exposed to raw meat, and cleaning up cat feces. In addition, undercooked meat can spread disease to those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women. Food establishments should always check their menus for undercooked meat.
Foodborne illnesses can result in fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headache. Symptoms can last from several hours to several days, depending on the type of pathogen that has infected the person. Those with weakened immune systems or a history of food poisoning should avoid eating undercooked meat. The risk of foodborne illness is greatest for people with compromised immune systems. Therefore, serving raw meat to a highly susceptible population is risky.