Listeria monocytogenes causes human listeriosis, which is associated with the highest hospitalization and mortality rates of all foodborne illnesses. In recent years, the incidence of listeriosis has doubled in Europe, almost exclusively among older adults (≥60 years of age). Food safety factors associated with increased risk of listeriosis include lack of adherence to “use by” dates and ineffective refrigerated storage of foods. Consequently, older adult consumers' implementation of safe food practices should be evaluated. This article is a review of consumer food safety cognitive and behavioral data relating to risk factors associated with listeriosis in the home as reported in 165 consumer food safety studies. Overall, only 41% of studies included assessment of consumer cognitive or behavioral data associated with listeriosis; of these studies 59% included data on safe refrigeration, 54% included data on storage time for opened ready-to-eat foods, and 49% included data on adherence to use-by dates. In most (83%) of the studies, survey-based data collection methods (questionnaires/interviews) were used; thus, the majority of findings were based on self-report (74%) and knowledge (44%). Observation (31%) and focus groups (12%) were less commonly used, resulting in a lack of actual behaviors and attitudinal data relating to listeriosis risk factors. Only 7% of studies included food safety data for older adults. Although older adults may fail to implement recommended practices, this review reveals a need for in-depth research to determine food safety attitudes and actual behaviors of older adults in conjunction with knowledge and self-report of practices linked to increased risks of listeriosis. Such data combined with review findings would inform targeted food safety education to reduce risks associated with listeriosis in the home.

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