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I am a great one for ignoring sell & use by dates, mostly because they are quite absurd and there is nothing wrong with the food.  So much food gets thrown away as it is, and the sell by dates play it safe in my opinion.  I was therefor quite interested to read the article. I have posted the link to their site at the bottom of this article, for your perusal

Over 60’s are particularly susceptible to this potentially fatal form of food poisoning.

Many of us, especially the older generation – think we’re being frugal by eating food that’s past its use by date, preferring not to discard produce that’s ‘a little past it’s best’.   However, this seemingly thrifty lifestyle can leave the over-60’s particularly vulnerable to a virulent strain of food poisoning.

Listeria is a bacterium that can live and grow in food: in particular, chilled produce such as pates, cooked sliced meats, soft cheeses and smoked fish.

According to research by the Food Standards Agency, many older people are unaware that consuming food after the ‘use by date’ or having their fridge set at the wrong temperature could put their health at risk.

Although the number of people affected by listeria is very low, one in three of those who do contract it tragically die as a result.

Rather worryingly, cases of listeria amongst the over-60’s have doubled in the past nine years – and, in 2007 alone, increased by 20%.

So, adhere to basic food hygiene guidelines and you’ll minimise your chances of contracting listeria.

Three key ways to avoid listeria

Don’t eat food past it’s ‘use by’ date.

‘Use by’ dates appear on foods that can go off quickly (these are different from ‘best before’ dates, which are more about quality that safety).   Even if food looks and smells fine, consuming it after the ‘use by’ date could put your health at risk.

2)         Set the correct fridge temperature

If fridges are kept at between 0c and 5c (32f and 41f) – this will help stop food-poisoning bacteria from growing.

3)         Follow food storage instructions.

Food that goes off quickly often has special packaging and storage instructions, stating how long it can be kept and if it needs to go in the fridge.   Once opened, it may go off fast, hence guidelines such as ‘use within two days of opening’.

For more information visit http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/listeria

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