• Article

Older adults’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding listeriosis prevention

Older adults can reduce their risk of contracting listeriosis from consumption of deli meats by keeping their refrigerator at 40°F or below and storing deli meats for the recommended time or less. In this exploratory study, we distributed a fact sheet on listeriosis prevention to 48 adults 60 years of age or older. We assessed participants’ food safety knowledge, attitudes, and practices before and after receiving the fact sheet. The subjects participated in focus groups to discuss their impressions of the fact sheet, whether they had made any changes based on the information provided, and barriers to adopting the recommended practices. Before the study, most participants had not heard of Listeria and were unaware of prevention practices for listeriosis. Participants’ awareness of Listeria, potential food sources, and recommended prevention practices, as well as their understanding that older adults are at relatively high risk for listeriosis, increased after receiving the fact sheet. Adoption of the recommended practices was not widespread, because many participants were not concerned about contracting listeriosis. Reaching older adults with multiple messages on listeriosis prevention through multiple delivery mechanisms will help to increase awareness and adoption of the recommended practices.


Cates, S., Kosa, K., Ten-Ecyk, T., Jaykus, L. A., Moore, C., & Cowen, P. (2006). Older adults’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding listeriosis prevention. Food Protection Trends, 26(11), 774-785.