An Exploratory Investigation of the Risk of Pathogenic Contamination At Selected New Jersey Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living Residences

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Elderly populations are vulnerable and generally have the highest incidence of morbidity related to foodborne illnesses and this problem may be aggravated in institutional or communal eating settings. The objective of this investigation was to examine the potential risk of food contamination in selected skilled nursing and assisted-living residences using bacteria indicator tests for Listeria spp., Salmonella spp. and E. coli. Of the 45 samples tested for Listeria, three (6.67 %) were found to be contaminated; Salmonella or E. coli contamination was not found in any of the samples. Reported incidents of foodborne illnesses are increasing in institutional settings, therefore there is an urgent need to collect information on practices that can prevent bacterial contamination of food served in elderly residences.



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